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Ex selling the house - I'll be homeless... any advice / help?

(56 Posts)
JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Thu 06-Nov-14 13:30:33

My ex and I own a property together. He has wanted to sell it for ages as he wants to buy a flat with his new girlfriend and can't whilst he is on the mortgage but I have refused, I want to live here and pay all the bills and mortgage. I can't afford to buy him out.

He managed to get a Court Order for the property to be placed on the open market and sold. I will get 50% of the equity (not a lot, only about 5k).

I have been ridiculously stupid and ignored it for 3 months. Please don't judge, I know I've done the worst thing possible by not dealing with it all immediately. I have not complied with the court order and have refused to sign the paperwork for it to be marketed by the estate agent as i have nowhere else to live.

I have now received a letter from the court with a date for another court hearing - he has made another application to court because of me not complying with the order.

Is there anything I can do to stop it being sold? The Court office told me I have missed my chance to appeal the order as it's been 3.5 months now. Are there any other ways to appeal at a later stage?

What will happen at court next month? The original order stated if I did not comply I will be held in contempt - what exactly does that mean for me? What powers do the Court have - are they able to evict me even though I own the property? If not then what can they do to force me to agree to the sale/ move out?

I will have nowhere to live. I can't buy him out or get another mortgage alone. The mortgage here is interest only and for this 2 bed house it is around half the cost of renting a 2 bed flat and more than even a 1 bed flat. I simply can't afford to rent. Will that matter or now the order to sell the house is made is that it?

Please advise if you can...

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 13:52:42

I am on the other side of this (ex in joint owned flat) and what he can do is ask the court for an eviction order.
if you refuse to comply the court can send round bailiffs to literally evict you.

it is you or you and DC?
if DC then court will want to know where you will live.

if you evicted you could go to council as homeless.
the anomalies of the housing market mean that yes an I/o on a flat bought a while ago is far cheaper than market rent; but the reality is you split with ex and he has right to his share of the equity. if you cant buy him out yes it will have to be sold.

if no Dc involved then judge will have little sympathy for you. sorry. you will have 5k to put a deposit and six month rental (or less if its high cost area)

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 13:54:07

but if the equity is only 10k (5k x 2) then surely you can find a way to beg or borrow 5K to buy him out? can you take on mortgage on your own? or with a guarantor?

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 13:54:29

ie to buy him out you take on mortgage and pay him half the equity. #

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Thu 06-Nov-14 14:10:50

Hi. Thank you. Perhaps I misunderstood "buy him out" I can't only get him off the mortgage if I get a new mortgage to cover the existing one. I have absolutely zero chance of this. The mortgage was obtained on our combined incomes and he earns double what I do.

Yes we have a child. Will a Judge not order me out despite the fact that the Order for sale is in place? Apparently the Judge already considered our child when making the Order (I have been told this is mandatory).

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Thu 06-Nov-14 14:12:33

This issue is I can't access that 5k until the property is sold. I'd need the 5k for a deposit but that would have to be done in advance of the sale and before I actually get the money. I have no family to help, no savings etc :;

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Thu 06-Nov-14 14:19:18

I should say this isn't my son's main home. He is here alternate weekends with as he lives with his dad (my ex whom I own the house with) most of the time..

lostdad Thu 06-Nov-14 14:31:28

There are legal and practical implications. I would state your income and expenditure. That it's not practical and you cannot afford to move out. You may then want to think about varying the order to something like a Mesher Order.

I don't know if you're being represented or if you're a litigant in person but I would put together a focused position statement setting out what has happened and your circumstances.

Always happy to help.

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Thu 06-Nov-14 14:52:24

Thank you lostdad.

I can't afford any representation so on my own!

Am I right in thinking a Mesher Order means the property isn't sold until our son is 18 and then ex gets his share then? Is this likely to work even though my son is only with me every other weekend?

Can this order be made even though the Order for sale has been in place for months?

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 15:19:58

are you married and getting a divorce or unmarried? it makes a difference

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Thu 06-Nov-14 15:21:40

Never married. Thank you.

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 17:03:05

I don't think here is a mesher order for unmarried it is down to TOLATA. trusts of lands act. so ignore anything relating to divorce law as it wont apply.

t would be up to you to prove under children's act you needed to stay in the property with your dc in order to remain there until child turns 18 and and if they spending more time in dad's home then that would seem unlikely.

so you need housing only for you plus space for dc to come stay.

given there is such relatively small amount of equity in the property then you not talking large sums...but obv your ex cannot buy while tied to this property.

your ex has no responsibility to house you.

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 17:04:36

are you working?
what mortgage or rent can you afford?
would you get housing benefit if renting?
could you stay with a friend til you get the 5k in your pocket then rent?
could someone lend you a deposit? council might lend you deposit if you need to rent and are going to claim hb

ask shelter

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 17:07:04

as you unmarried the order for sale would be under tolata. this only looks at who has ownership of property and who gets what when it is sold ie the 50/50 split you already know. your ex has right to ask for it to be sold to get his equity.

to counter you could apply under children's act to remain in the property until child is 18 as he living there - but given he not living there this would seem a poor argument. and in any case you would face the same problem then? or are you expecting circumstances to change by then?

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 17:09:59

"a ‘Mesher Order’ ....are orders which allow one party in a former marriage to stay in a home for a period of time – often until children leave home – while the other party retains an interest in the property." mesher is to do with marriage.

your only chance is under children's act. that you and child need this house and none other til child finishes full time education.

lostdad Thu 06-Nov-14 19:21:53

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry - sorry to hear you are unable to afford representation.

It is possible to represent yourself, albeit with the assistance of a McKenzie Friend (someone who is not a solicitor or barrister who necessarily has legal qualifications).

They can do many of the things a solicitor can but they do not have automatic rights of audience meaning they cannot speak in court on your behalf (but they are able to sit with you in court, write notes, advice and speak quietly to you to assist you. They cannot act as your agent or conduct litigation. It's not generally a problem however because many of them (myself included!) brief you on what is liable to happen and what your options are - and are more than happy to help you when it comes to negotiating with the other party or their solicitor or barrister.

cestlavielife Thu 06-Nov-14 22:18:47

You really need strong legal advice even if you choose to represent yourself. You not in strong position but maybe a lawyer can ind a loophole..,

Collaborate Thu 06-Nov-14 23:45:13

Lostdad - there is already an order for sale, so there's no point contemplating a Mesher or any other type of order. Anyway, they weren't married, and the child lives with the father, so would have ruled out a Mesher even if married. Certainly that factor rules out trying anything under the Children Act.

OP - this highlights the need you have to only rely on advice from a qualified solicitor or barrister. To be honest though, cut your losses and comply with the orders or you'll risk losing your half of the proceeds to a costs order against you. It's near certain you'll have to meet his legal bill for the enforcement proceedings.

grocklebox Thu 06-Nov-14 23:52:45

Childrens Act does not apply at all, since the childs main home is not with the OP. She does not have cause to keep the home as primary residence for the child, her ex-p would but has chosen to be housed elsewhere.

There really is nothing you can do at this point, OP. The order is made and you don't have any grounds to appeal it, especially after >3months.

Greengrow Fri 07-Nov-14 07:32:27

Yes some of the advice would be very good if the child's main home was with this parent or if the couple were married. They are not.

Contempt of court is a criminal offence. You could go to prison. People are jailed. In a divorce case a father was last year and two ex Government ministers have been. You don't mess with court orders which put you in contempt of court if you do not comply with them. The courts rarely like people to be able to miss time limits and then later out of time permit them to resurrect the case.

I suggest to avoid another court hearing you agree to what the court orders say. If you cannot afford rents where you live you may need to move into a flat share. I am sure it can be presented to your child when they are with you on contact visits that this is a lot of fun camping in the one room. It's all about attitude not material wealth that matters to young children. It will all be fine.

Basically you could go to prison if you are in contempt of court so don't mess with that. Obey the court orders.

Coffeeinapapercup Fri 07-Nov-14 07:48:12

You need to sell and quick. What on earth are you thinking hanging on to a place you don't solely own and can't afford. shock

I could understand your attitude if your child lived with you but as it is it is totally unintelligible.

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Fri 07-Nov-14 12:31:12

Thanks everyone. I realise I am clutching at straws and I have been really daft. I have had a lot of problems in my personal life recently, I was very stressed and instead of taking action I did the opposite and stuck my head in the sand.

I would love to stay here if possible, hence me now trying all I can.


1. I've no chance with an application under Children's Act to keep the pro worry until he's 18 (he's under 5 still now) as although we have shared care I am considered the non resident parent and this is not his "main" home.

2. It's now too late to appeal. 3.5 months.

I have already made an application to Court about 2 weeks after the order for sale was made to have the Order for sale varied/cancelled (I don't know the correct legal term) this application was filed and served but I was sent a letter from the Court Office saying the Judge had read it and decided it will not be listed for hearing as the Order has been made and I didn't attend the hearing at which it was made. I was advised to make a formal appeal with sufficient grounds. However by the time I tried to do this it was too late and upon reading grounds for appeal I honestly don't have any that meet the criteria such as court was misled or Judge made an error in law.

I really don't want to have to move our the area as here I am near my sons school. In addition to alternate weekends with me I also pick him up once a week for a few hours from school for tea until his dad finishes work and I don't drive so that would be difficult. I also would struggle in a flat share as my son is used to his own room but I understand that's not my ex's fault and he wants to move on and buy elsewhere- it's just so hard accepting I can't afford to rent somewhere decent for us.

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Fri 07-Nov-14 12:46:48

I'm also wondering about eviction? From what I can see eviction is usually sought to get rid of tenants or by the mortgage providers if the owners don't pay the mortgage. My ex's latest application (being heard next month an I've received a full copy of his application along with the hearing date from the Court) has asked the Court to issue with with 28 days notice to vacate the property to allow for it to be sold as per the order for sale. Can the Court do this?

Collaborate Fri 07-Nov-14 12:56:09

Yes. He's asking the court to find that you're obstructing sale, and that the best way to sell is with you out of the way. To be honest, nothing you've posted makes me think you won't obstruct a sale.

JohnLewisAdMadeMeCry Fri 07-Nov-14 13:11:47

I spoke to CAB this morning who have told me if I want help from the council (who may be able to offer me a one bed flat at a much more affordable rate than privately renting which I can't afford) then I need to be evicted.

So the only way I can really stay in this area and be close to my son and his school and keep the contact I have with him is to wait for eviction and then go to the council and ask for help as I am homeless. Does anyone know how long this takes? Hearing is on 1st December- will they definitely order me to be evicted? If so is it 28 days notice?

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