Liability for paying mortgage

Answered on 24 June 2018 by Nick Morrey

My partner moved out 5 months ago and is paying half of the mortgage only (no utility bills or finance loans). He now says that he will not continue paying. We did sign a deceleration of trust so I own 70% and he owns 30%. Is he still liable to pay half? Where do I stand when he refuses to pay any more?

This situation crops up all too frequently in separation cases, and many people get into trouble over it.

All joint mortgage borrowers are what is known as "jointly and severally responsible" for the monthly mortgage payment. This basically means that as far as the lender is concerned, both parties are equally liable for the mortgage, irrespective of any individual arrangements that you may have set up. It also means that whether you own 70% or 30% of the property, both mortgage borrowers are 100% liable for the payment.

If your partner decides to stop paying what has been agreed, and the mortgage goes into arrears this will seriously damage his credit file as well as yours, and have a very negative impact on his ability to borrow any credit in the future.

If he goes through with his threat, and you find yourself unable to make the full payment, then you need to speak to your lender as soon as possible to keep them fully informed of what's happening.

If you are able to financially then we can look at remortgaging, and taking your ex-partner off the deeds and mortgage. If this isn't viable then it may that you will have to look to sell the property, and split any equity 70/30.

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.


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