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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 34282
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Hi, i wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction

Customer Question

Hi, i wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction . I purchased a property in the uk in my sole name in 1999 when i was married. In 2005 the marriage ended in divorce in the usa.
The particular property that i mention above was awarded to my ex husband in the divorce court. However, he was also ordered in 2005 to put the property in his name and take over the responsibility of the mortgage payments .He did not do this. I expect the reason why is because he was unemployed then and remains unemployed now and the bank would not grant him ability to assume the mortgage . Since 2005 the property has therefore remained in my name . I have continued to rent it and make payments for mortgage. In 2009 the property required extensive work due to roofing and damp issues. I paid 30,000 to have repairs done and instal a new badly needed kitchen and bathroom. if i did not get this work down the property would have been uninhabitable. My ex husband did not want to contribute, has not taken any responsibility for anything at all including council tax during times that there were no tenants.I have been forced to continue with the responsibility of repairs, managing rentals , council tax etc because the property is in my name . My ex husband has a lien across the title which means i cant sell it. He refuses to communicate with me and i don't know what the law is or what my rights may be in terms of action to collect the money i have spent.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question
My name is Clare
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
Which part of the Uk is the property in?
How much is it worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Its in london

Its worth 200.000 and there is an outstanding 100.00 owed.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Have you got income and expenditure accounts for all the years since the divorce?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes i have.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Has there been any profit at all and if so how does that compare to the money you have spent on repaired and improvements?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have spent 40,000 so far. What is the law regarding this situation? Would i go to the court in usa or because ethe property is in uk, go to court there.What is likely to happen?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
This is a complicated situation and it is important to work out the financial position first.
How much is the property worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
What is the net annual income from the property?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

its worth 200.000 and mortgage is for 100.000. The annual income from property breaks even with mortgage payments and there is no profit.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
Which country does your ex live in?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

USA

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
So under the terms of a US court Order you should have transferred the property into his name - but he has done nothing to enforce this.
In the mean time you have continued to maintain the property rental so that the mortgage did not fall into arrears
You would like to sell it but your ex has a Restriction on the property?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I would like to sell it but i cant because he has a lien across the deeds.I don't want to take responsibility for it. He was ordered to put the mortgage in his name. I approved that move but he did nothing about that.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Has he actually registered the restriction at the Land Registry here in the UK?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
In that case you have two possible options.
You may well be able to make an application within the divorce proceedings in the States - I am afraid that is a matter you need to discuss with a US lawyer.
Here in the UK you can make an application under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA) for an Order for the sale of the property - and for you to have the money that you spent on improvements returned to you
Please ask if you need further details
Clare