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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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How do you go about selling a house jointly owned with an ex

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How do you go about selling a house jointly owned with an ex partner who doesn't want to sell?
-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The query on is behalf of my fiance. He has a house he owns with an ex partner. He's been continuing to pay his half of the mortgage since he moved out 2 and a half years ago. (we have been together 2 years and live together now).


She keeps agreeing to sell then changes her mind. The mortgage is due for renewal in Feb 2013 so this was the 'crunch' time. She's changed her mind again. She can't buy him out as she can't get a mortgage due to her credit history... So to move on the house should be sold. If he defaults on the payments he will have a black mark. She has him over a barrel. Is there anything that can be done as he's been more than reasonable and it's crippling his current financial situation!



This problem is not
uncommon. The first thing he should do is consider stopping paying the mortgage
because that will focus the X's mind. He does not have to pay the mortgage all
the bills of a house that he does not live in (as far as the relationship
finances go), although he remains liable to the lender if she stops paying. Who
is currently living there at half price, and therefore it is hardly surprising
that she is not in a rush to sell.

He needs to get
his solicitor to write to her, telling her that unless you agrees to sell the
property. He will apply to court for an order for sale and he will ask the
court to award costs against her.

He can ask the
court to specify which agent is to be used, the marketing price, the price to
be accepted, and other matters such as she is not to be present when viewing to
take place and she is not to obstruct the sale in any way.

I would probably
threaten to seek the mortgage payments back from her (there is no guarantee you
will get them, but he can threaten it) if she does not play ball, on the basis that
he paid them under "mistake" not knowing that he had no liability as he was not
living there and his liability was only limited to the lender

I assume that no
children are involved because if children are involved my answer will probably
be completely different.

Can I help

Meanwhile, please
bear with me today because I will be online and off-line all day.

The next part is
really important for me:

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The thread remains open. Thanks

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



This is very useful advice so far, thank you. This situation must be so common. Fortunately there are no children involved, only a dog (who he is completely devoted to and pays more than half of any related bills!).


If he stops paying the mortgage as he has been up until now and she is able to pay until they sell on the understanding he's not been living there, and if he claims for money back from her for previous it still agreed that the property is 50/50 ownership and therefore any sales proceeds are split evenly?


I think there is concern that if he stops paying she may have more rights over the property, and he would struggle to claim his equal share (I recall something like this with my brother when he went through a messy divorce).


I understand that it costs about £1,500 for the initial legal advice to start proceedings on this. Is that the 'order of sale' you mentioned above? And then she could still refuse to sell and he has no leg to stand on. Which involves court proceedings and significant additional costs.


I'm more than happy to reward a positive feedback for your help - i'd rather you received the fee for your time.



So far so good.
Unless there was an agreement when they bought the property as to what would
happen when they sold it than the proceeds are split 50-50, regardless of what
each has put in.

The situation is
well settled in the law, and she has no more rights over the property if he
stops paying the mortgage. He can actually move back in he be wishes and can
come and go as he likes. He can actually move in with you! (That might focus
her mind), but she can ask you to leave when he is no longer in the property
(gone to the shops or work or the pub) and you can come back in as soon as he
returns. It might not be an option, but I mention to illustrate the situation
he is in.

It is also not
uncommon (although more common with an aggrieved spouse whose wife has been
awarded the whole house and does not want to sign the transfer deed or contract),
for the sale to be ordered by the court and for the other party to simply
refused to sign any documentation. In that case, it is another application to
court and an application for costs against the reluctant party. The judge can
then sign all the documents in her stead and let her have a costs order for the
privilege of doing so. Her reluctance is likely to cost her several thousand
pounds. In that respect, she would be well advised to take legal advice herself
because her legal adviser will advise her that she cannot put this off


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your response with this enquiry. We have a number of other questions but agree that we need to get a solicitor involved to pursue now.


Kind regards,


Can I assist further?

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