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  • Legal FAQs

    Options when you are not the property owner?

    My cousin purchased a property about 20 years ago. At the time he added the woman he was seeing at the time (call her Woman A)

    However, months after purchasing the property my cousin and Woman A broke up… and the female has not been seen or heard from since.

    After the break up, my cousin got married to ‘Woman B’ and his spouse was given ‘notice of home rights’ however she was never added as a ‘registered owner’

    Unfortunately, two years ago my cousin died without a will and with woman A still on the title

    Having paid the mortgage for over 15 years, Woman B wants to know whether there is any way she can get her name added to the title and if it is possible to remove Woman A’s name? I assume that this will need to happen, in case she wishes to sell up one day?

    My cousin left behind one son and one daughter with Woman B

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    Hello! Smile Did Woman A pay anything towards the deposit?

    Ownership of the property is in 2 parts; legal (ie. the Title) and equitable (ie. the actual value of the asset owned).

    If Woman A did not contributed anything to the original purchase (ie. the deposit - I don’t believe mortgage payments are considered to be part of the purchase price from memory) then she has no claim to the value of the property.

    I’m not sure how you deal with the title, but I suspect Woman B will need to speak to a solicitor as a first port of call. As your cousin has died intestate, his equitable ownership will have passed to his spouse automatically, Woman B, so she does own the equity in the property (assuming Woman A did not contribute to the deposit).

    However, the title is/was likely ‘Joint & Several’, which means that on his death, the full title passed to Woman A. Sorry I can’t provide the final piece of the solution, but speaking to a solicitor should be Woman B’s next step.
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    Hiya

    Woman A did not contribute towards the deposit in anyway..  Thank you for your comment. It was helpfulSmile

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    Hi again, despite the doubt casted, I’m still confident that I’m correct if Woman A genuinely paid nothing towards the house. This case is almost like a scenario lifted out of my law degree coursework and also Land Registry has a blog which outlines ownership as I’ve described. You can read that here: https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2016/...ifference/. You do need to get Woman A off the title though, and that will likely involve trying to find her or paying a solicitor. In the meantime, I would start to collate the evidence that shows that your cousin paid the deposit and also that he was responsible for all the mortgage payments. I doubt you can avoid the need for a solicitor here, but if Woman A was only in the picture for 5 minutes and you are certain she paid nothing towards the house, then this is much simpler than is being suggested. If they were married, had kids, she was a stay at home mum etc etc, then it would be a mess. As it is, in my opinion, I don’t believe she has a claim to the equity and so I really don’t think it will be all that messy.
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    Having spent five years fighting my ex to regain full title to my properties,  to which she made almost zero contribution in either deposit, or mortgage payments,  I suspect your conclusion is wrong.

    I believe woman A's name on the title deeds, regardless of who paid what and when, will give her a degree of entitlement.

    Woman B would presumably have inherited her husband's estate,  and hence his share of the property.  This still leaves woman A on the deeds.

    You need to get a very good solicitor involved who has a really good grasp of the laws of inheritance,  but more importantly understands property law.

    Speaking from experience, if Woman A is still alive and suddenly gets wind of the fact that she may well have an equity share in a property,  she may well get herself a good solicitor and ask for her share to be bought out.

    How that share would be calculated is a bloody minefield.  Worse case scenario is that she may want money.   If she's reasonable and asks for a  a couple of grand rip her arm off.  

    Just speaking from experience.  I am not a solicitor.

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    I've been assured that Woman A has not been in the picture for 20 years and she will not be coming out of the wood works for her slice of the pie..
    My cousin made a few rookie mistakes. One was adding a woman he was briefly dating to the title..
    If Woman B stopped paying the mortgage wouldn't the lender write to Woman A.. And if there is no response could she get a favourable outcome that way?
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    I want to stress that I am not a solicitor.  Whatever you do, don't stop paying the mortgage - that just complicates things and will mess up her credit rating.

    .  Is Woman A's name on the loan agreement?   If you can't find Woman A,  it's unlikely the mortgage company will be able to find her either, or even make the effort

    Have you notified the lender of your cousin's death?

    .  If you have,  and they have not asked for the mortgage to be redeemed, I assume the loan agreement has a second name on it?   Note this is the loan agreement not the title deed.

    If they know of his death, and they have not called in the loan, then there must be a second name on the agreement. Woman A or woman B,  and they will be joint and severally liable for the debt.

      If woman A's name is on the loan agreement, and woman B is now paying the loan back,  you need to get woman A's name off the loan agreement and off the title deed

    If this was my ex, she would have emerged from the woodwork by now,   all lawyered up,  and would have made a claim on the house or the equity in the house in exchange for getting her name off the deed.

     You would have to prove that woman A did not pay any of the mortgage to a court if it got that far.   And even then there are no hard and fast rules about who gets a share of what, regardless of who paid what, and when.

    This has the potential to be a right mess. Get a solicitor who knows property law.  I would suggest that removing Woman A from both the deed and the mortgage agreement ( if her name is on it) would be wise.

    But beware, if woman A has her name on the mortgage agreement, and woman B presumably does not,  if you remove woman A, the lender will want the loan repayed,  Woman B may well have to go and get a new mortgage to pay the old one off. .

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    Sorry but you need to speak to a solicitor and advice of a property forum wont help just bite the bullet and pay, for professional legal advice

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    Quite right .  At the moment he is getting the dubious second hand benefit of my investment of twenty grand with a solicitor,  when I was faced with a similar situation.

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