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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hello, I would like some guidance on the following issue.

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I would like some guidance on the following issue. In 2007 I bought a flat in north London with my ex-partner, who moved out at the end of 2009. The mortgage was a joint tenancy; however I have always solely paid the mortgage, whilst my ex contributed what she could afford towards some of the bills etc.

She has never disputed the fact that the mortgage payments were entirely my responsibility and makes no claim on the flat and has indicated this to the lender on a number of occasions.

Her only request has been removal of her name from the mortgage, which is something I am 100% in favour of. We have both requested this and I have completed and submitted a ‘change of parties’ (CoP) form to the lender.

The CoP request was refused because I have been self-employed since late 2010 and cannot provide the lender with 3 years tax returns/books to prove my income. Even if I could, on paper I would not technically be able to afford the mortgage, even though I have been paying it in full for the past 5 years.

My ex has now resorted to the legal option and I have received and solicitors letter stating that, she is considering going to court to obtain permission to sell the property.
At the current time, the flat is still in negative equity and if a sale were to go ahead, I would find it impossible to ever get a mortgage again. I am currently working in another part of London, but this flat is my home and if it were sold, I would have nowhere permanent to live.

I am still in contact with my ex-partner and I do understand why she has taken this route and in fairness to her, all she has ever wanted is her name removed from the mortgage, which as I have noted is something we both agree on completely, however the possibility of court action has brought this to a head and I need some guidance on:

•Given the above information, what’s the likelihood my ex-partner would be successful if she pursues legal action?

•My options going forward/Is there any way to prevent this process happening?

•Approximate idea of possible costs and where the burden will fall?

•Should I respond to the solicitor’s letter, or continue to deal with my ex-partner direct?


Thanks for your patience.

I assume that you do not have residence of a minor child from the relationship.

It’s highly likely that she will be successful with an order for sale from the Court. The Courts do like people remaining on legal titles where it exposes them to continuing potential liability where they do not wish to be.

The liability under mortgages is joint and several, which means the lender can and will sue both of you irrespective of the fact that you have an agreement or understanding that only one of you should be responsible to pay the mortgage.

The level of costs involved depends on the level to which you contest this. It would not be wise to contest and force the matter to become comtentious. Costs can range between £1000 + VAT to £10, 000.00 and upwards.

I would reply to the solicitors letter and agree a timescale for marketing and valuations with a view to securing the best price personally.

Sorry it could not have better news for you.

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Kind regards,

Thomas and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you for the swift reply, but if you could just clarify a couple of points:


There are no children involved.


I assume that where you wrote ‘The Courts do like people’ you meant ‘do not’?


I understand the issue of liability in regards XXXXX XXXXX mortgage, but surely the fact that I will be made homeless has to play a part in this process.


Also the fact that the property is in negative equity, surely means if it were sold for less than the original price, someone would have to pay the difference. As I have no assets, savings and my credit rating is mediocre at best, XXXXX XXXXX be impossible for me, so unless my ex was willing to put up the required amount (which I doubt) what would happen then?


Yes, you are correct I omitted "not" from that sentence.

The court will not accept that you would be made "homeless" as superceding he r exposure to liability.

The fact that is in negative equity means it may be slightly (only slightly) more difficult to get an order for sale, but if she can evidence that the value is not likely to increase sufficiently in the short to medium term then she will still get the order.

You would both have to then negotiate with the lender on the amounts owed.

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