Splitting up from a spouse or partner can be very stressful. It can be made worse if you have a mortgage together and are unsure about your rights concerning the property.
We’ve pulled together a quick guide on what to do if you split up from your significant other and own property together, especially if you’re wanting to sell it.
If you and your spouse/partner jointly own the property, and both have your names on the title deeds, then you have equal rights when it comes to your property.
How the home can be divided
Your options are quite straight forward:
- Sell, split the money and move elsewhere separately
- One of you buys the other out
- Transfer some of the property value to the other partner. Although, in this situation, you will forfeit your ownership rights, you will still have an ‘interest’ in the property. This means that if it ever sells you are entitled to a percentage of the value. This is a good compromise if you have children together and want to make sure they continue to have somewhere to live
- Keep the home and rent it out – This is fine if you are on good terms with each other, but can be quite complicated if the relationship has become sour.
If the Property is in One Person’s Name
If your home is only in the name of either you or your spouse/partner, then the other, unnamed person, doesn’t have a right to the property or any money accrued if it is sold. In a worst-case scenario, this could lead to the eviction of the person who isn’t named on the title deeds.
If you’ve paid towards the mortgage, or towards any renovations on the property etc then you could apply for ‘beneficial interest’ in the property. Although you’re not automatically entitled to a share in the property, because you’re not named on the mortgage, if you claim beneficial interest then you could be entitled to continue living in the property and/or get a share amount when it sells. This is, however, a very complex area of the law and it is recommended that you get advice from a solicitor if you’re in this position.
If Your Property is Jointly Owned
There are two ways you can jointly own a property – Joint Tenants which means you both have an equal share in the property or Tenants in Common which means one of you has more of a share than the other.
If you split up and want to sever a Joint Tenancy then you just need to write to your ex and tell them. They don’t, however, have to go along with it.
It’s also possible to separate the mortgage so it is only in one person’s name. This can only happen if the named person can afford the mortgage repayments alone. This is quite beneficial to the person leaving the mortgage as they will then get a better deal on another mortgage for a new property. If you separate the mortgage then you need to make sure that your credit files are also separated as any future loans or debts could affect you, and vice versa, if your credit files remain tied together.
It is always a good idea to contact your mortgage lender and explain that you have separated. This should prevent your ex from increasing the mortgage or taking out further loans against the property without your consent.
They can also support you if you’re concerned about managing payments because you no longer have someone else contributing towards the cost of the property. A ‘guarantor mortgage’ allows a close relative to pay your mortgage on your behalf if you’re struggling. This is a big step and requires a lot of thought and research so it’s better to avoid this route if possible.
Should you decide that selling your property quickly is the best route then The Property Buying Company can help. You’ll get a fair cash sum for your property and they can complete in a timescale to suit you. All legal fees are included in the service so you won’t have to do a thing.