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desperately trying to settle housing issue with ex

  • misterbemused
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25 May 12 #332937 by misterbemused
Topic started by misterbemused

I would really appreciate some advice about my situation here please.

My ex and I (never married) bought a house together in Sept 2007 to live in together, We were given £18K by my parents as a deposit. The house is now borderline negative equity and worth approx 20K less than originally purchased for.

My ex and I split in April 2010 and she agreed to move out as I was the only one who could afford to pay the mortgage on my own. For the next year she begged me to sell or take the house on myself so she could be free of ties. I tried both these options but couldnt do either due to housing market slump and lending restrictions.

After turnign up at the home and assulting me in Sept 2011 when seeing me with my new girlfriend she then demanded that the house be taken off the market. She wouldnt respond to my attempts to speak to her.

In Feb 2012 I managed to get a mortgage agreed in my own name. I have told her she can now be free and she is demanding £11K.
Its going to cost me £17K just to remortgage in my own name so I the most I can afford to give her is £3K. She has ignored this offer and my request for us to go to a mediation service and wont engage at all.

I am now at the stage where I am either considering court order or stop paying the mortgage so the house will be repossessed.
Im told it will cost about £3K - £4K to taker her to court and I may be able to claim against her for costs but I''m not sure if this is the right way to go. All I know is I cannot go on living under her control much longer.

I dont mind selling the place, or taking on the house myself. I''m hoping to emmigrate next year so I really want this all wrapped up before i go.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Mister Bemused!

  • LittleMrMike
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25 May 12 #332954 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Well, you are not married and therefore your situation is governed, not by divorce law, but by general principles of property law.
If you go to a solicitor, he or she will want to peruse the arrangements when you bought the property. It is open to the couple to agree that the house is held equally, or in some other proportion.
So it is absolutely vital that you ascertain what your respective shares in the property are. If the conveyancing was done properly, there should be no room for doubt.
As a general rule of thumb :
· Where one party is the sole owner of the property, the starting point is exactly that – the owner has 100% rights;
· Where the property is jointly owned the starting point is that the parties own in equal shares.
· If the deeds say that one party owns, say 75% and the other 25% then that is what their shares will be.
· If either party wishes to displace these basic rules the onus is on him/her to demonstrate why.
This is usually achieved by establishing contributions, for example, providing part of the initial deposit, helping with the mortgage, improving the property and so on – but not contributing to household expenses.
However, the position is made rather more complicated by recent decisions of the House of Lords ( Supreme Court ) in two important cases, Stack v Dowden and Kernott v Jones.

So, for example, in Kernott v Jones, the property that was the subject of the dispute started out by being owned jointly. But the Supreme Court decided that Ms Jones was entitled to 90%. The facts of this case were, almost certainly, not typical. But it demonstrates that it can be done.
The above is a very condensed summary of a very complicated and involved subject and in all cases, legal advice is necessary.
As you say, it is open to either party to apply for an order for sale and if there are no children involved then it is extremely likely that an order would be made. It is possible by agreement for one joint owner to buy the other out.
I do not recommend that you allow the property to be re-possessed.


  • Marshy_
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25 May 12 #332967 by Marshy_
Reply from Marshy_
I agree with what Mike has said. Just want to add about getting the property repo''d.

What tends to happen now (despite what they tell about 3 non payment strikes) is that the lender will let you make 6 or so non payments on the mortgage before they start proceedings. Then you will have to wait for a court date then you have to hope that the judge allows the lender to market the property for sale. All this time, your arrears are mounting up. And also as the house is near to loan to value, then you are sure to make a huge loss on the deal. This is a bad plan. And you are making a rod for yr own back. And lenders dont like reposesing property and courts dont like forclosing on property.

What I suggest to you is an alternative araingment. As you are clearly stuck with a property that will be hard to sell, why dont you rent it out? Doing this is a deal that washes its own face. In otherwords, the rental will cover the mortgage. In perhaps a year or two, you could review the market and you and your ex could either sell or maintain renting it. You may just clear negative equity and both of you will walk away with either a small profit or a small loss. Letting it go now is just going to cost you money one way or another.

Lastly, property is not just a roof over yr head. Its also an investment vehicle. If done right that is. Keeping the property long term in the rental market could in fact turn a decent buck in say 10 or so years time if you were to sell it then. I know property is in the doldrums right now. But that wont always be so. Long term, property always makes money and people always will need it. So owning a slice of the market is a good plan long term.

U layed all that money out to buy it in the 1st place. Why not get some return for yr investment?

Just an idea. C.

  • misterbemused
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27 May 12 #333262 by misterbemused
Reply from misterbemused
Thanks to you both for taking the taking the time to add your input guys.

Everything was set up 50/50 even though my parents put in the deposit.

I''ve spoken to national debt line and defaulting/repossession route is too scary to consider at this stage.

Can you tell me how ''Order of Sale'' court option works then? What''s involved here? How do they decide what the house can be sold for? Who sells it? Who pays for the sale costs?

Renting is sadly not an option as I don''t own enough of the property to change to buy to let mortgage. Plus my ex probabaly wouldnt allow me to let it anyway...and if I did try to do this Im sure she would do something to sabotage it.

I hear what your saying about hanging on to it long term. Makes sense financially but my ex is such a loose cannon I need to be severed from her financially asap. She has a history of running up large credit card debts and disappearing. If she does this now, that debt is secure against our house (i.e my current home).

Cutting my loses is a bargain if it means I can sleep easy at nights!

Many Thanks

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