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Owner of house moved out four years ago, now threatening to come back

(31 Posts)
TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:17:03

I've nc for this as it makes me identifiable. It is fairly long and complicated so I'll try and outline the main points.

Five years ago DH split with his XDP and she moved out into rented accommodation. She has made no financial contribution since that time.

They contacted the mortgage provider to take her off the mortgage however they were unable to do this I think because the property was in negative equity and they wanted two people to chase for payments (I'm not 100% sure on these details).

I have lived in my DH property for four years. I moved in along with my two children from a previous relationship and we have since gone on to have our own DC.

I am reluctant (and possibly unable to anyway due to credit rating) to go on the mortgage at present. I antisipate that will change in around 3-4 years once my debts are cleared.

About a year ago we contacted a solicitor to change the deeds to a tenancy in common (I think) so that DH and his XDP share 50/50 ownership.

We have no contact with his XPD however she has mental health issues and will occasionally contact us with various problems/threats.

Yesterday XDP contacted me, for unrelated issues but as usual the conversation descended into her threatening and stating that she can have keys for the property and come here whenever she wants. I didn't engage with her and that was the end of the conversation.

I was wondering what the situation actually is. I'm afraid that she may actually be correct and I need to see a solicitor asap. However in the meantime what can I do if she turns up? Can I lock her out and ring the police to remove her? She doesn't currently have a key. I have three young children and I am genuinely worried that she may be a danger to them and me. As stated she has mental health issues including being sectioned and she has also had her children removed via SS.

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to make sure everything was covered

fastdaytears Sun 21-Feb-16 19:19:44

Changing the house to tenants in common would suggest that you think she does own half of it.
Is there equity in the house now?

MonkeyBarKid1 Sun 21-Feb-16 19:27:18

Certainly sounds as though she still owns the house jointly. So I guess that she can move back in if she feels like it but I don't kknow for sure.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:28:21

We've not had it valued more recently but no I don't think there is any equity in it.

fastdaytears Sun 21-Feb-16 19:31:16

Well if there is any then she will own one half and can move back in. But if it's all debt then you should be able to get her to sign it over as she won't be giving anything away.
I've never heard of the mortgage company needing 2 people. How does your DP's salary compare to the amount of the mortgage?

Mumblechum1 Sun 21-Feb-16 19:32:46

Even if there is no equity, that doesn't matter, she still has the right to occupy under the Matrimonial Homes Act.

Having said that, your DP really needs to get a solicitor involved to try to negotiate some sort of final settlement.

HerRoyalNotness Sun 21-Feb-16 19:33:43

I can't understand why you'd get paperwork drawn up for a house in negative equity to show your DH and his ex own it equally?

If in another 5 or so years, you may have some equity in it, she could quite rightly be asking to be bought out of her half.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:34:02

The mortgage is roughly three time his salary.

Collaborate Sun 21-Feb-16 19:34:45

It would be an offence under the Crime Act 1977 for her to force entry if there's someone else inside.

HerRoyalNotness Sun 21-Feb-16 19:35:05

Does it matter if they weren't married mumble? Or does that act still apply?

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:36:29

The reason the document was drawn up was because as it stood if anything happened to my DH all the house or equity would go to her and not me or his child.

fastdaytears Sun 21-Feb-16 19:38:24

Temp but it also means that if she dies her half goes to her family. And it's pretty strong evidence that the understanding was that she owned half. So it's all a bit confusing.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:40:17

Yeah it's a bit of a nightmare I know. I'm going to get advice urgently as I need to protect my children from her first and foremost. I can just imagine her making a scene in the garden.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:42:20

Sorry to drop feed but just remembered. The reason we split the ownership was because she had a court case involving legal aid that was charged against the house. Now it is just on her half of the equity. We got legal advice for that.

FairfaxHigh Sun 21-Feb-16 19:48:14

She's still a joint owner so can move back in. The change to tennants in common mainly only affects things if either your DP or his ex was to pass away - rather than tge house automatically going to the other (as would previously have been the case) they can now leave their share to who they want in their Will.

To release the ex, the mortgage company would want to be confident that your DP can meet the mortgage payments without his ex's help. From your post, it looks like this has been happening but also that he-s had a previous request rejected. This could be due to the tightening in lending criteria. It would be worth him making another application if he's had an increase in his income or reduction in his debts/other outgoings since last time.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:50:32

Thank you Fairfax. I will suggest speaking to the mortgage company again and see where we go from there.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 21-Feb-16 19:53:09

If she managed to get legal aid to charge against the house, presumably she has some evidence that she does infact own half.

It's been a while since I've looked at this legally, but I believe as co-owner, she'd be entitled to a set of keys. It would be possible for you to get an occupation order which restricts her access if necessary, but you'd need to go to court for this.

You need to either buy her out or get her to sign over her house. Realistically, this probably means getting the house valued and trying to come to an agreement with her. It might mean that you have to go on the mortgage, if you've got an income, or that you have to move.

You'd want a good solicitor to deal with having to sell, if you do, because your husband should claim for the payments that he's made in full on his own since she left. It's not a given that he'll get it.

Is she likely to be homeless soon? Do you know what she wants with the house? If she's just causing trouble by wanting access, she might get bored and move on to something else (although I'd still get this sorted legally, you've let it drag on too long as it is). If she's likely to be homeless soon or wants to move back to where she was, it's less likely that she'll drop this.

It's very complicated as co-owners. Have you changed the locks or did she leave hers?

FairfaxHigh Sun 21-Feb-16 19:54:54

X post -yep, having the legal aid charge on just her share would be another reason to change to tennants in common. Potentially creates a further difficulty as it will need to be repaid before the property can be transferred out of her name.

Agree that urgent rl legal advice is the way to go

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 19:57:37

She left her keys here. She has no interest in the house and doesn't want to move back in for reasons I can't go into, it is just a stick to threaten us with. Im unsure of her current accommodation details but I think she's still renting where she was.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 20:00:43

There is absolutely no way that the charge on the house can be repaid by her, short of a lottery win anyway. I do know that it's well into the thousands and although working she is on min wage. Looks like it will be better for us to move!

FairfaxHigh Sun 21-Feb-16 20:06:11

As I said, I really think you should get rl advice to check out all of your options.
Good luck with it all though thanks

fastdaytears Sun 21-Feb-16 20:06:52

You can't move if there's a charge on your property and you're in negative equity anyway.

TempAlias Sun 21-Feb-16 20:07:09

Thank you everyone. I will get rl advice as soon as possible.

Doubleuponcoffee Sun 21-Feb-16 20:11:41

I'm not certain that will help tbh, it seems quite clear she owns half the
House (that's not actually disputed by anyone is it?) so she could, in theory move in. I can't see what other advice you could get. However, it doesn't seem she wants to. if this becomes a real threat there are ways of stopping her, but I wouldn't waste any money on it until that time.

Lweji Sun 21-Feb-16 20:14:52

Definitely get legal advice.

I think your husband could get a court order to get sole occupancy and to prevent her moving in.

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