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Answered on 19 December 2019 by Nick Morrey
My ex-partner and I have separated. We have a joint mortgage on the property we lived in together, but I’ve moved out and they still live there. Can they remove my name from the mortgage without my permission and am I entitled to any equity in the property?
Even if you have an amicable divorce or separation, it’s always best to know what your rights and options are regarding any joint mortgage or shared property.
One of the most important things to be aware of is that your ex can’t simply take your name off the joint mortgage or the title deeds without your knowledge or permission. We explain how they could go about removing your name and the circumstances in which you may be entitled to equity in the property below.
Before we run through how your ex-partner can go about taking your name off the mortgage - with or without your permission - we should explain some things first.
As you cannot be named on the title deeds without also being on the mortgage, your ex-partner will need to have you removed from the title deeds first or at least at the same time that they have you removed from the mortgage
Some lenders will allow you to stay on a mortgage but not on the title deeds. This may be suitable in certain situations.
Your ex-partner will almost certainly require your consent to remove you from the title deeds and/or mortgage.
Usually after divorce or separation, one party applies for a transfer of equity to have the other removed from the title deeds, simultaneously enabling the lender to remove them from the mortgage. Your ex-partner will require your consent to apply for a transfer of equity and your lender will likely require your signature to take your name off the mortgage.
Even if you’re happy for your ex-partner to remove you from the mortgage, the lender won’t allow it unless your ex-partner meets their affordability criteria – i.e. they show they can support the whole mortgage either by themselves or with whomever may be replacing you on the mortgage.
The only time your ex-partner could have you removed from the mortgage without your consent would be if they applied for and were granted a court order to have you removed from the title deeds and therefore the mortgage – but these are only granted in certain extreme circumstances. We recommend you consult your solicitor if you think your ex-partner may take legal action to have you removed from the title deeds/mortgage.
For more information, see our guide: How Does Divorce or Separation Impact Your Mortgage.
You may be entitled to some equity in the property if you’re on the title deeds and any of the following apply:
If you’re entitled to equity, you may be able to negotiate a lump sum pay out should your partner remortgage or sell the property.
Speak to your solicitor immediately to find out whether you’re entitled to any equity and how much you could receive.
Answers provided in response to Ask the experts are based on the information provided and do not constitute advice under the Financial Services & Markets Act. They reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of John Charcol. All comments are made in good faith, and John Charcol will not accept liability for them.
We recommend you seek professional advice with regard to any of these topics where appropriate.