Q&A My ex stopped making the mortgage payments. Now the lender is after me.

Q:      My ex-girlfriend and I split up in 2021 and I moved out of the house we bought together in 2018. She wanted to keep the house and I agreed as her parents had given us the deposit monies and there was little other equity in the property. I stopped paying my half of the mortgage and she was supposed to take over the payments. We were going to get my name taken off everything once she was earning enough to qualify for a mortgage on her own. Now I find out that she lost her job in March 2023 and stopped paying the mortgage. The lender is trying to hold me liable. My ex is a mess and says to just let them repossess. What should I do? 

A:       The mortgage liability is joint so you will be liable for all of it. You may be able to claim it back as a debt from your ex.

If the lender repossesses the property, it is likely to achieve less than if you sold it privately. Whilst lenders should try and get the highest price, in reality their prime concern is getting back what is owed to them and often they will sell a repossessed property at auction where it will be viewed as a ‘distress sale’. In some instances, the purchase price achieved may even be less than the outstanding mortgage plus costs. If this were to happen in your case, you would be liable for all the outstanding monies because your name is still on everything.

Your best course of action would be to speak with the mortgage lender, explain the situation to them and ask for time to try and sell the property yourselves. If your ex will not agree to you selling, then you will need to apply to the court for an order for sale so you have a chance of keeping control of the sale and protecting your credit record.

This question has been answered by Clare Lewis, a Licensed Conveyancer with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194