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SASH_Law
SASH_Law, Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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I broke up with my ex-boyfriend 2 years ago with us having

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Hi! I broke up with my ex-boyfriend 2 years ago with us having purchased a house together 50:50. I moved out of the house after the break-up in the hopes of selling the house as soon as possible but he has repeatedly hindered the sale and keeps wanting to keep the house. In the meanwhile I have continued paying Mortgage plus rent. Is there anything I can do to either force the house sale or if he wants to keep the house, force the price to be the fair 50% after deductions?(Help to buy, mortgage, etc).
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: no, I got told there was nothing I could do bu some solicitor, but speaking with somebody today told me there must be something legally that I can do to finish this situation, as it's heavily impacting my mental health every time he keeps expecting me to pay for house costs (boiler services, council tax) we even had a cat that stayed in the house as I couldn't take to my rent place and he got rid of her and refuses to let me know what happened to her. I have been paying mortgage every month and not lived there for two years, and he keeps delaying things as he is comfortably living in the house for 1/2 the costs.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: I don't know who to talk, I don't know what type of lawyer to go to, I was hoping maybe you could tell me what type. I spoke with Solicitor who told me maybe a divorce lawyer, but since we weren't married, the council legal advisor told me in the past I had basically not many rights.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no, I just want to know who to talk to and what are my options

Hi, I'm Lea

You state that the house is owned 50/50 and you continue to pay your share of the mortgage, despite not living there for two years, and the advice you were given by a solicitor was that you couldn't do anything - is that correct?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
I asked the council legal advisors and they told me that because we were not married I had nothing to do but get him to agree to something
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
this is in UK)
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
that is correct

I have no idea who those council 'legal advisers' were, but they knew nothing about the law and should not be giving advice. If you had received that advice from a solicitor who you had paid, I would have advised you to make a formal complaint as you would have had a definite claim for negligent advice.

You do in fact have rights. The property is owned 50/50 and therefore if you want to sell and the other party does not, you have a right to apply to the court for an order of sale. This is done under TOLATA (google the statute for the full title). It can be a difficult claim to make, and you should try to settle the matter by mediation (obviously you asking him directly hasn't worked, but a mediator may be able to get things moving). If not, then you can make a claim to court.

I would strongly suggest that if this does progress to court that you instruct a solicitor as TOLATA claims aren't the easiest to navigate as there are two routes to go down and subtle differences between the two of them. In addition, I think you should also be making a claim for a larger proportion than 50% given that you have continued to pay 50% of the expenses of the property, including the mortgage, yet had no benefit of the property for two years. Your ex should compensate you for that by virtue of you getting a larger share of the equity...as I said, a bit complicated, so I do advise the use of a solicitor.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
is there any particular type of solicitor that I should look for? I never know whether I should ask for a specific type, and I keep hearing "that's not my field but..."

A family law solicitor will be able to assist you.

Some family solicitors do not do TOLATA cases, but many do. If not, you can try a property solicitor.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
ok, so all I need to do is reach out to a Family law / Property solicitor and they could handle this situation? or will I need to continue the backwards and forwards with my ex? (I am sorry if this is repetitive, I want to ensure I understand correctly as this is heavily impacting me at a personal level and feel pretty lost )

THe first thing you need to do is contact a mediator - explain the situation and the mediator will try to set up a meeting with your ex. If he refuses or the mediation doesn't work, then you can proceed to apply to court.

Alternatively you could send him a pre-action letter and state that unless he agrees a sale date you will go to court and claim your costs from him. If you win, the court will award you costs - and there's no reason why you wouldn't win.

You can find a solicitor here: https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
to find a mediator.... it seems confusing, are they part of legal teams / firms? or do I need to go to the council website?
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
that letter, does it have to be written by a lawyer / mediator / solicitor? or just by myself?

You can find a mediator here: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/

The pre action letter can be written by you.

SASH_Law and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
does it need to be a letter or can it be an email? I don't know if when you say letter you mean actual letter or a notification which can be done via email.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
by the way, I just realised I have not yet thanked you a single time for all your answers, I apologise, I am a bit stressed out by this situation.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
also, for mediation does he need to agree to have a mediator.. or do I just have to pay for it and hope it works out? what happens if he refuses to have a mediator? Does he need to pay for any part of the costs?

It can be an email, so long as you can prove you sent it.

Don't worry about thanking me, I am just glad that I can give someone positive news for a change!

He has to agree to mediation, hence me saying if he refused or it wasn't successful you could proceed to court. You can ask him to share the costs, but you'll need to pay for the first session as you're the one making the appointment. If the mediator can't contact him or he refuses to engage, you proceed to court.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
to apply to court, if he refuses, that is when I need to reach out to the solicitor, right?

Yes.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
ok, Thanks a lot, it looks like now I can create a plan of actions to do next and hopefully end this horrible two years.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thanks a lot for your patience and understanding. take care

You're very welcome.

I am sure it will turn out well.

All the best.