In the event of a relationship breakdown it is extremely likely that one of the parties will vacate the family home. The majority of the time the family home is jointly owned between the parties.
Common sense dictates that the parties will discuss who should pay the mortgage and household bills following separation. However, most break-ups result in different levels of hostility with neither party wishing to speak to the other and the last thing they will think to discuss is who is going to pay the mortgage. How do you then make sure that the mortgage is being paid?
Every attempt should be made to reach an agreement with your ex-partner over who will pay the mortgage. In most cases the person remaining in the property will be the one to pay as the other party will have to secure alternative accommodation. However, if nobody pays then the mortgage will fall into arrears and your mortgage company may try to take the property from you.
The mortgage company will not be concerned about who pays the mortgage or the circumstances, they will only look at the bottom line. If the person in the property does not pay then the other party would have to consider making the full payments or otherwise they could face repossession and a severe affect on their credit rating and ability to obtain a new mortgage in the future.
However, even if you have agreed that the person staying in the property will pay, unless you tell your mortgage company you have moved out, you will not be told even if they don’t.
You should always inform your mortgage company in writing that you have moved out of the property. Make sure that you provide them with your new contact address and advise them of the position between you and your ex-partner. I would follow this up with a telephone call to confirm receipt of your letter. This will make sure that you are always updated in respect of payment towards your mortgage or any arrears that are accruing.
Keeping your lender updated will also reduce the risk of any fraud arising such as your ex-partner obtaining further money from your lender or even paying the mortgage off in full and attempting to dispose of the property without your involvement. Whilst this is unlikely to happen as both parties have to sign various documents to allow further lending or a sale, there are some people that are willing to fraudulently sign their ex-partners name and deal with the property as they wish without their ex-partners knowledge. This can result in people paying for loans they have not taken out or even following a trail to find out what happened to the money following the sale of their property.
It is important following the breakdown of a relationship that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. We can advise you on a variety of ways of protecting your rights in this situation. That may be by reaching a documented agreement with your ex-partner to give both parties peace of mind or by taking your partner to Court to seek a sale of the Property if they simply will not agree.
By consumer executive, Gillian Lavelle