Q: My partner and I separated two years ago. When we were together we bought a house in joint names and we both had our names on the mortgage. After we separated, my ex-partner continued to live in the house and is now living there with a new partner but refuses to remove my name from the mortgage. This is a massive worry to me as they keep missing the mortgage payments, which is having a huge impact on my credit rating. I can’t afford to pay for the mortgage so what should I do?
A: Firstly you should try to reach an agreement with your ex-partner to take steps to remove your name from the mortgage. Most banks will be able to carry out an affordability check on your ex-partner, free of charge, to check his credit rating and decide if they are willing to allow the mortgage to be transferred into his sole name before having to pay out any money for a formal transfer of equity application. If no agreement can be reached to transfer the mortgage then an application can be made to the court for an order for sale, as where a property is held on trust, as in this case, the court can make an order instructing that the property be sold if one party wants to exit.
The court has to take into consideration various factors and in particular you and your ex-partner’s intentions when you purchased the property. Additional considerations will be the purpose for which you both hold the property in your names, the welfare of any minor who occupies the property and the interest of any secured creditor. However, in the case of any separation it is prudent to get advice from a solicitor to ensure a fair settlement is reached.