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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34895
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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A house that I have a registered financial interest in is sitting

Customer Question

A house that I have a registered financial interest in is sitting empty but the ownership is in my ex-wifes name. We both have a key to the front door, she told me she lost the keys to the other doors.

The property is the subject of a court order in England to be sold and proceeds divided.
During the occupancy by my ex wife and her children (not mine) the property was abused and vandalism occurred devaluing the property by approx. £4500-5000.

My ex-weife failed to maintain insurance cover on the house and three weeks ago I asked her solicitor to ask her to find insurance cover and I would pay it until the house is sold. She is to meet her solicitor this week but I have just been informed that her daughter (17) has announced that she and her boyfriend are travelling 120 miles to stay in the house from Thursday this week and have announced a huge party in the property. This daughter is one of the people responsible for prior vandalism and also for holding partiers in the house when her mother was absent during their occupancy and police were called.

The daughter does not live with her mother and I do not know if my ex knows of the planned party as her daughter was told by a friend to get a key to access the property from someone said to hold a key.

My issue is now - as the daughter does not live with my ex she presumably will be illegally taking access if my ex does not know.

As the property is empty and has no furniture in it and is the subject of a court order can a party be prevented.

Legally can a lock be changed by me to prevent access by anyone other than me or my ex in the interests of my ex and myself and my business which also has a financial investment in the property. I.e. what safeguards are there. Given the property is still uninsured then any damages caused to it would in theory be liable to my ex as its in her name BUT the issue is that criminal damage by teenagers would never be recovered financially.

I didn't wish to ask my ex if she is aware of the party as she and her daughter and my ex's lawyer all know I am buying my ex out of the property and this may be an attempt to trash the place thinking it willk impact the value so its worth less to me - there have been a number of serious vandalisms to properties by teens recently.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for using JustAnswer. My name is Claire, I will do whatever I can to answer your question.
How much is the house worth and how much are you due to receive?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The house market value is £132000 but £140,000 was paid for it.


I woudl be due around £20-28K and my business £43K from sale.


By court order my personal £20-28k is dependent on the sale value - so is proportionately less if house sells for less.


Compnay intention was to offer to buy my ex out for £65-68K following a variation in the court order that the court have asked I make.

Expert:  Clare replied 5 years ago.
The most effective way to deal with this is to notify her solicitor that you will hold your ex responsible for any reduction in the value of the property caused by any action by her daughter - or indeed any other damage that would and should have been covered by insurance - the insurance that you have offered to pay.
There is little doubt that a court would support you in this and state that any diminution in value should be deducted from her share and not yours.
Unfortunately you cannot change the locks since you are not a legal owner