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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12121
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Me and my parter purchased a property in october last year.

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Hello. Me and my parter purchased a property in october last year. We have now made the decision to sell the house due to a breakdown in the relationship. He put down a £20k depots, and has stated that if we sell the house, he would be entitled to all the profit made in the property and I personally would have to pay the fee’s myself. I am curious to know what the case would be that would result in me personally paying charges. As far as I am aware, all costs come out of the sale of the house.
Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I live in Wiltshire, England.
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We are due to go to the estate agents tomorrow to list the house on the market, but I want to be sure this will involve no cost to me
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don’t think so. Thank you

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question but need more info - also this is an email service therefore maybe a delay in replying.

did he have any written agreement as to how much he put in?

how long in total were you together?

who pays the mortgage etc?

which fee's is he talking about?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We have no written agreement that he paid the deposit. The money went into our joint account which was then transferred to the solicitors upon purchase. we We’re together for just over 3 years, and we are both named on the mortgage and both pay half, although I do not live there anymore. He is advising I need to pay for the solicitors and estate agents costs to sell the house out of my personal fund, as he is entitled to all of the profits made on the sale of the property.

Your partner really needs to take better legal advice or take legal advice if he hasn’t done.

I’m afraid that he couldn’t be further than the truth.

If 2 people own a property are not married and there are no children and there is no agreement to the contrary as to what will happen when the property gets sold, then it is split 50-50. It doesn’t matter what each person puts in by way of deposit and what each person puts in over the period of ownership, it split 50-50. It does not matter that one of them pays all the mortgage and puts all the deposit in and the other one sits by and does nothing but drink tea, it is split 50-50.

The courts have decided that if a couple are buying a property together they would have an agreement if they were putting different amounts of money in and wanted money out in proportion. They would safeguard their “asset” by putting it in writing.

Relevant case law is Kernott v Jones.

I will say that I don’t agree with this decision but I don’t make the law, I just regurgitate it. The case does go on to say that if the couple were living in the property and one party moves out, then any contributions to the capital or fabric or improvements of the property, after that person moved out but which were made by the one remaining, will be taken into account with the final division of assets from a sale of the property.

What the case law goes on to say is that any contributions to capital (not interest) and any maintenance or payment towards the property other than the mortgage, after a couple split up will be taken into account in the division of the assets. The reason it all isn’t taken into account is that if you have the benefit of living in the property then you have the burden of paying the mortgage.

Not relative to the case law but if either party wants the property sold, then the reluctant non-sale wishing party can be taken to court for an order for sale under the Trusts of Land Appointment of Trustees Act s14 and they would usually get the order against the reluctant seller and get caught and solicitors costs also awarded against the reluctant seller. If anyone ever threatens to apply to court for an order for sale, my advice to the other party is to get the estate agents sign up straightaway.

Meanwhile, a person is not responsible for the mortgage or the bills of a house that they do not live in although they remain liable to the lender if the other co-owner stays in the property but doesn’t pay.

So in summary, I’m pleased to tell you that it doesn’t matter if your ex-partner paid everything and you sat at home drinking tea and paid nothing, proceeds are now split 50-50.

You are also correct that the solicitors and estate agents cost to sell the house, off the top line and everything else after the payment of the mortgage is split 50-50.

You might want to show him this answer and you might want to suggest that you take legal advice as you have done.

The ironic thing is that if he hadn’t been so greedy, you would have probably settled for far less than 50%.

Incidentally, is GBP20,000 isn’t ring fenced. Everything goes into the pot and its then split 50-50. As a said, it doesn’t matter that you put nothing in, get 50-50 out.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Thank you.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 5 months ago.
just to confirm. As I am not currently in the property, but he still is, I don’t have to pay half to mortgage? Or half of the bills? And the costs for selling the house will come out of the sale price.You’ve been more than helpful, I can’t thank you enough

That’s all correct.

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It doesn't just give me a pat on the head!

The thread remains open, and we can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.


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