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Your property rights – splitting the house if you split up

Property rights - a saw splitting house

How do you split the house if you split up, what are your property rights?

What property rights do you have when splitting up from partner or spouse?

Splitting up is never an easy thing. It can be even harder if you have a house together with a mortgage – but do you know your property rights?

Top 1o reasons couples split:

  1. Bad behaviour – smoking, drinking, betting, etc
  2. Cheating – was it a kiss or a full-blown affair
  3. Misdirected anger – you’ve had a bad day, now everyone must suffer
  4. Being unsupportive – work as a team, or it won’t work
  5. Toxic people – may be a control issue or a negative influence
  6. No affection and attention – listening, hand holding, cuddling, (and yes, sex)
  7. Lying – do it, and your mate will lose all trust in you
  8. Stealing – financial issues account for over 30% of divorces
  9. Giving up – it’s what happens when you don’t put the hard work in
  10. Not communicating – the more you talk, the better you will feel

Infographic – Top ten reasons why couples split up

Here’s a quick guide on your legal rights if you split up from your other half and own a property together, mainly if you want to sell it.

Property Rights – Joint Ownership

If you and your partner both have your names on the title deeds, then you jointly own your home, in which case you have equal rights over the property.

In this situation your options are as follows:

  • > Sell the property, divide the proceeds
  • > One buys the other out
  • > Transfer some or all your interest in the home to your partner
  • > Keep the home and rent it out

There are two ways you can have joint ownership:

  1. Joint Tenants – both parties have a 50/50 equal share in the property.
  2. Tenants in Common – one party has more of a share than the other. If you and your partner/spouse split up and want to end the Joint Tenancy, then you need to write to your ex to inform them. However, they don’t have to agree to go along with it.

Another route is for one party to come off the mortgage – leaving it in just one name which is only possible if the person remaining on the mortgage can afford the repayments on their own. However, it can be beneficial to the person coming off the mortgage as they will no longer be responsible for future repayments and they can apply for another mortgage on another property. If you go down this route, then you also need to ensure that your credit files are separated too, as any future debts or loans could personally affect you, and vice-versa, if you remain connected.

If you remain on the mortgage, then it is wise to contact your mortgage lender to explain that you and your partner/spouse have separated. Doing this will prevent your either party from taking cash out by increasing the mortgage on the property or even taking out other loans on the property without your knowledge or consent. They can also help you if you’re unsure you can manage the payments as you no longer have your partner/spouse contributing towards it. One way is a ‘guarantor mortgage’ – it allows a close friend or relative to pay your mortgage payments for you if you find yourself struggling.

If the Property is in One Person’s Name

If your property is in just one name, then the other person has no rights over the property or any money from the sale after the mortgage has been paid off.

However, if you have paid part of the mortgage, or towards any improvements to the property, then you are eligible for a ‘beneficial interest’ in the home. If you claim this, then you may be entitled to continue to live in the property and even get a share of the proceeds when it sells.

Note: this is a very complicated legal area, and we recommend that you first seek advice from a legal practitioner.

Should you and your partner/spouse decide that selling your home is the best option, then Flying Homes can help. Our buyers will offer you a fair cash sum and can complete in your timescales. All parties legal fees are usually included, so that’s another thing off your mind and you won’t have to worry about property chains!

If separating or divorcing then read more here.

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