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Removing ex's name from mortgage despair

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  • Removing ex's name from mortgage despair

    Hi ,

    I'm new to this site and the situation I find myself in. Apologies in advance for the length of this query as I've tried to include as much information as possible but if I miss any out, please do not hesitate to ask.

    My queries are:
    • How can I get my boyfriend's name off the mortgage?
    • If that's not possible is there a way that we can legally and enforceably state that all equity in the house is mine? (he has agreed this)
    • If a mortgage company has allowed one lodger, is there a precedent set for multiple lodgers?
    • If not what is the difference, and why is likely to not be allowed?
    History of the situation:
    I bought a property in England with my boyfriend in April 2006, and we have since split up earlier this year. He wanted out of the property and we arranged for three estate agents to come in and value it so we could try and make a decision on what to do with the house. The average of their valuations came in at the same value as the outstanding balance on the mortgage. He wanted to sell as quickly as possible and told me that he would be taking the first offer made for the property even if it was lower than the outstanding mortgage amount, and would file for a forced sale court order if I did not agree. Since I had already been saddled with all the debt accrued during our relationship for fixures and fittings, I could not afford to take on more debt from selling the house at a loss coupled with the estate agent and conveyancing fees. So I offered to look into taking on the house on my own, and he was to continue paying his half of the mortgage until he had no vested interest in the property, one way or the other.

    I have tried to change the names on the mortgage to be mine only, and due to the outstanding balance, my income and the afore mentioned debt, that was not possible. The mortgage company has said that I will be able to do it if I can raise £11k to reduce the balance or get someone to take my ex-partners place. I asked my ex if he would be willing to raise half of the £11k to reduce the debt and release himself from the mortgage and he was unwilling to do that. I don't want to get myself in this same situation again, so I don't have anyone I trust enough that I could ask. They suggested my father, but he would be well over 75 when the mortgage term is due to end, and therefore they would require the mortgage term to be reduced in line with my fathers 75th birthday, increasing my payments from approximately £550 a month to £800. My father would be willing to do this but would be unwilling to contribute towards the mortgage which I think is completely understandable and I would not be able to manage payments of that amount, as I can only just afford the £550 at the moment (with no quality of life).

    During the application of the Change of the Parties my ex decided to stop paying his share of the mortgage, and sent me a letter stating that he was no longer going to pay anything towards it or bills. He was not paying any bills anyway, but was supposed to be paying half of the insurance premiums to protect his interests in the property should I die, and house insurance to cover the items he has left in the house.

    I have asked the mortgage company if I can remove his name and use a guarantor instead and they have refused this option as it is a Together mortgage and they won't allow a guarantor on an unsecured loan. I have managed to eventually get the mortgage company to agree to letting me take in a lodger, but I think this has only happened because I was misinformed originally about being able to. Since the valuations and the agreement to the lodger application, I have redecorated the lodgers room, and finished all the other communal rooms that did not get started or were left half finished by my ex, so that it is attractive to a potential guest in my home.

    He has been threatening to take me to court over occupational rent (not sure if I've given it the right name). I looked into this and apparent it only applies if I expelled him from the property and am preventing him from living there. I never said he could not live in the property, it was his decision to go back to his fathers. I only asked for the keys back when he stopped paying the mortgage and as much as it would not be very nice, if he was to pay his way he would be more than welcome to move back in at any time. I also fear now that I have been forced to go down the route of taking in a lodger that he will now start to ask for a proportion of the lodger's rent.

    But my biggest fear is: He has said that he will not take any equity that gets built up in the house as there was none in the property when he stopped paying and his hasn't paid anything towards the house since that time. But there is nothing made formal, and I'm not sure how it could be made enforceable. He has made the rules up as he has gone along and not been very trustworthy since the split so as you can imagine I'm quite scared that I'm going to struggle to maintain the mortgage (and both our credit ratings) and build up a small equity in the house through the redecoration, and that he's going to change his mind and decide that he is after all going to take half the equity.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I am aware that it must have been a bit of a slog.

    I look forward to hearing any replies (hopefully positive).

  • #2
    If the mortgage lender will not agree to a "transfer of equity" in the property into your sole name, you are stuck with your ex on the deeds and he is stuck with being equally liable to the mortgage lender under the mortgage

    As a temporary measure (until things improve and you can afford to sell the property or buy him out) you could ask him to sign a "declaration of trust" acknowledging that, though his name is on the legal title, he has no beneficial interest in the property, and will transfer it to you (or to whoever you specify) on request. In exchange, in the same declaration of trust, you should agre to indemnify him against liability under the mortgage and for any outgoings (except life cover - see below)

    If there is life cover in place, as you are paying the mortgage, this only benefits him (if you die, you won't care about the mortgage debt), except for the possibility of a windfall it he dies (callous, aren't I!). Ignoring the windfall aspect therefore, as the life cover only benefits him by paying off a debt for which he is legally liable if you die, he should pay for the life cover. If he chooses not to then, unless maintaining the cover is a condition of the mortgage, that is his lookout.

    As for lodgers, I have never seen any mortgage conditions that prohibit taking in lodgers - lodgers are not tenants and have no security of tenure or other rights in the property; their existence therefore does not affect the mortgage lender's security, so I would not even mention a lodger to the mortgage lender. If your ex accepts he has no beneficial interest in the property and you are paying the mortgage instalments and other outgoings, the lodger is no business of your ex - he/she is helping you to pay the costs of running the house, which (under this scenario) belongs exclusively to you - subject, of course, to the mortgage

    I hope this helps
    This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum


    • #3
      Hi Justin,

      Thank you very much for your reply and taking the time to read my monsterous post

      I found that very informative and has given me a little food for thought.

      With regard to this "declaration of trust" can you give me a little more detail? Would I get one from a solicitor/lawyer? Are they expensive, or is that wholly dependant on the lawyer/solicitors fees? You say that I "indemnify him against liability under the mortgage", how water tight is that because I have heard that mortgage companies will not care about such contracts that they would still chase both of us if I default.

      If the mortgage company take offence to getting a lodger and not telling them, what is the worst that they could do? Could they repossess the house, or are they just likely to slap me on the wrist and tell me not to do it again?

      Thanks in advance


      • #4
        Taiya -

        A declaration of trust is best prepared by an experienced property lawyer. Depending on how much detail you want it to go into, the fees should be about £200 to £250 + VAT. I suggest you contact the lawyer who acted when you bought the property, as this should save any background details needing to be collected. First, get your ex's agreement in principle (a) to making the declaration and (b) to you getting the lawyer who acted on the purchase (for both of you) preparing it

        The indemnity is between you and your ex. You are correct that it will not stop the lender chasing your ex if you default, but nothing will stop that. The point of entering into the deed is to give you an extra incentive not to default in the first place!

        If you granted a tenancy or some other rights over the property, that would be a breach of the mortgage conditions, which could (ultimately) entitle the lender to repossess. However, takling in a lodger does not grant him/her any rights over the property, and I very much doubt the mortgage conditions prohibit it. In any event, if the income from the lodger enables you to service the mortgage debt, that will suit the mortgage lender. The last thing they want to do is repossess in the current market!

        Good luck!
        This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum


        • #5
          Thank you very much Justin, your help and advice is just the sort of thing I need at the moment.

          And thanks for the luck, I think I'll need it lol