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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 791
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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Hello, I bought a new build house jointly with my sister in

Customer Question

Hello, I bought a new build house jointly with my sister in February 2011 under the help to buy scheme for £189950. We contributed 10% of the deposit and the lending agent contributed 15%. I checked on Zoopla a few days ago and I could see that the new build houses along our street have been valued between £228k and 232K.
In the past year, we both got married and consequently, the living relationship was not working out.
Before I moved out, I had asked her if she would be able to take care of the mortgage. She told me that I should just go and she would take on the mortgage payments with her husband. However, after a few weeks of moving to a rented accommodation with my husband,my sister told me she was unable to afford the repayments and that I should continue making my payment each month. As I am renting, I cannot afford paying the mortgage and rent. I asked my sister to move out of the house and let my husband and I take over the mortgage but she refused (My husband and I are on a much higher salary and would be qualified for a mortgage of £280k).
As it stands, I am still paying my part of the mortgage with her and paying rent on my new rented accommodation. As I cannot afford this, I have asked for my name to be removed from the joint mortgage. We went to the bank and they told her that after assessing her and her husband, both of them are not qualified to remortgage in order to remove my name. After this consultation, she still insists on staying in the house. I would like to know where I stand legally. Can I force the sale of the house as:
- She is currently 6 months pregnant and I dont want to wait for the baby to arrive and for her to use the baby as an emotional blackmail
- she and her husband were told by the bank that they cannot afford to remortgage
- She believes that I am not entitled to any of the equity when my name is removed
- She wants me to keep my name on indefinitely....until her husband and her are one day able to afford taking on the mortgage
- I want to buy a property with my husband but is now tied up in this mortgage with her
Please let me know where I stand legally and what is the best way going forward...
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
LondonlawyerJ :

Hello. I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

Customer:

Hello, Thank you for getting back so quickly

LondonlawyerJ :

Can you let me know do you hold the property as tenants in common or joint tenants. These are the two ways in which people can joinlty own property. What sart of a mortgage do you have is it a repayment or an interest only mortggae and is there any fixed rate/discounted rate preventing sale during a specified period?

Customer:

Hello, Im not sure. I think it is a joint tenancy. The mortgage was a repayment mortgage

Customer:

and I stupidly agreed to change the mortgage to a fixed rate recently. fixed for 2 years

LondonlawyerJ :

Ok the mortgage will have joint liability for you and your sister to make the payments and if she is ineligible to remortgage then you can not force the mortgage company to do so. If you sister can't/won't pay then you will have to pay yourself or fall into areas with your mortgage and face the consequences of that. You can not get out of the mortgage obligations unless the mortgage company agree and they will not in these circumstances. Is the best outcome here to sell the property and to split the proceeds in an agreed way?. Will your sister not agree to this? You need to obviously find out what the early redemption penalty is. Because you and your sister are tied together by this mortgage you will have to come to some sort of agreement about what to do. Getting a fixed rate in the current climate is not a stupid thing to do.

Customer:

I have asked on numerous occasions to sell but she does not want to

Customer:

So in this case where she cannot afford the mortgage and I want to release my name, can I force the sale of the house?

Customer:

Also, if I go to the court to force a sale, would they favour her because of her pregnancy or when the baby is born, the fact that a minor is in the house?

LondonlawyerJ :

The legal position here is straight forward. You have a mutual obligation to pay the mortgage together. She can not, but is unwilling to move out or sell (or to let the place and share any profit?). She therefore seems to simply expect you to pay for her and her husband's accommodation. Is there any sort of agreement between the 2 of you as to who would pay what share of the mortgage?

Customer:

the agreement was that we would pay half each

LondonlawyerJ :

No yo can't fore the sale of the house. You own it jointly. If you hold it as tenants in common you you would both notionally own all of house and therefore you could not sell it, if you hold it as joint tenants you both own 50% of it and you could in theory sell you 50% share of the property but who would buy that?

Customer:

I don't know, her husband wants to be added to the mortgage when he gets a better job. So i guess he could buy my 50% share of the house

LondonlawyerJ :

The only way to resolve this is by agreement with your sister. It may be that if you have to pay for the property you will need to move back in as yo can not afford to pay for another property at the same time. May be that prospect will make her be more reasonable. When you brought the property did you have a solicitor did he advise about having an agreement about selling the property.

Customer:

I cant remember, I guess I would have to contact the solicitor for this information

Customer:

Also, if we havent got an agreement about the sale of the property, can we get one now?

LondonlawyerJ :

Only if she agrees to it.

Customer:

ok thank you

Customer:

I just found this on englandshelter.org.uk

Customer:

If you are joint owners, you have equal rights to live in the property. This means that none of the joint owners can be forced to leave without a court order. If you want to sell the property or take out a loan against it (a second mortgage) all the joint owners have to agree.

If you decide that you don't want to live together any more and can't agree who should stay or whether the property should be sold, get advice. The rules about what you are entitled to will depend on any legal agreement you made when you bought your home and your personal situation (such as whether you are married or civil partners, and/or have children). You may need help from a solicitor.

You might have to get a court order to decide:



  • who can stay in the short term

  • whether the property should be sold or not

  • if the property isn't sold, who can stay in the long term

  • what financial share of the property each joint owner is entitled to.

LondonlawyerJ :

Yes. Exactly why you and your sister need to work this out together. You can not sell without her permission, she can not stop you moving back in. Any attempt to get any sort of court order would be very expensive. Without any written agreement at the time the court would have to try to work out what the intent was at the time based on you and your sister's evidence. It would be an awful and very expensive mess. It could easily eat up all the equity in the property.

Customer:

Ok, I will contact my solicitor to find out all the finer details

LondonlawyerJ :

The rights in this situation are not clear in legal terms beyond what I have stated and you need your sister to come to an agreement.

Customer:

ok thank you

LondonlawyerJ :

Yes do contact him but feel free to ask me further questions. I would be grateful if you would rate my answer. This will not close the question and I will continue to respond.

Customer:

ok will do

LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 791
Experience: Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
LondonlawyerJ and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I have found out that my mortgage is held as Tenants in Common and not joint tenants. Since talking to you, I have tried on many occasions to negotiate with my sister but she refused. I've asked her to let us go to a solicitor to draft a document that will say that she has agreed to sell in a few months but she refused. The solicitor told me that I can demand rent from her. He sent her a letter recently telling her that he will make a part 8 claim to the court if she doesn't agree to sell. He gave her 7 days to reply. He said that he wants to speed up the process before she has her baby. Am I being advised correctly on this?

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