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Can he change the locks?

(7 Posts)
scribbles1980 Tue 10-Jan-17 09:43:37

Friend is going through divorce.
Their partner has left the property (6 months ago) but is still paying 1/2 the mortgage.
When he was away she entered the property and removed large number of items.
Some of it valuable, tv and some of it I think just to wind him up, plates, knives & forks etc.
She also damaged some of his clothing.
He didn't want to get into arguments about returning these items but agreement was made , through solicitors that she couldn't enter the property without prior notice & agreement with him.
As he works away a lot he decided to change the locks.
She has sent a message through solicitors asking if he has done this.
Presumably she has been to the house and tried to gain entry.
Where does he stand on this?
She has also been threatning to stop paying her 1/2 of mortgage.
House is going to be sold once financial settlement has been reached.

Collaborate Tue 10-Jan-17 09:47:28

In theory he can't do this, but in practice he has, so the real question is what can she do about it, and will she get any joy.

She would have to apply under the Family Law Act for an occupation order which makes him allow her to enter. The court will want to know that she has a legitimate reason for entering the property, and given the history I think it's possible she won't get the order, and likely she won't even try and apply for one.

scribbles1980 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:32:29

Thanks Collaborate
He has no problem with her entering the house.
He just doesn't want her to when there is nobody there.

scribbles1980 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:43:42

How do things stand if she stops paying her 1/2 of the mortgage?

Collaborate Tue 10-Jan-17 14:16:24

Under the Family Law Act, when making an occupation order the court can order one of the parties to pay a mortgage. In theory he could apply for such an order to keep her away and to get her to pay the mortgage. Courts tend to frown upon those who try simply destabilise those in occupation of a joint property. No guarantees though either way.

MrsBertBibby Tue 10-Jan-17 14:43:10

The court can indeed make such an order (s40 FLA 1996) but such an order is unenforceable, so it's pretty pointless.

If he's living there, it's fair enough that he pays the mortgage unless he really can't afford it. If necessary, could the monthly payment be reduced by extending the term, or going interest only, until sale?

scribbles1980 Tue 10-Jan-17 17:15:49

The problem is that she wants more than 50% of the house sale.
His solicitor told him to take the house off the market until they sort out the financial settlement.
He would struggle to pay the mortgage on his own.
However if she stops paying her half would he then be entitled to more out of the house sale?

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