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Advice please - Charge on property

(31 Posts)
HiggeldyPiggeldy Thu 02-Mar-17 22:48:19

I wonder if someone can help me please not sure what to do;

A charge was on a house I shared with ex for my legal aid fees and for my share, house has now sold, legal aid amount to be repaid has been obtained and I know my percentage.

However the property seems to have been sold for quite a bit less than similar houses in the area, but my solicitor is saying it not up to them to query the sale amount, its up to me to agree sale amount with ex, but due to previous threats and violence I moved away from the area for my safety and I have no contact with ex, so what can I do? its about 40K difference or 20%

so as not to drip feed, ex is usually drunk or off his face on drugs, its very likely he thought he could sell the property, pay the mortgage, and take the money, stupid as it sounds he had probably forgotten about the charge or not known the implications

ChristinaParsons Thu 02-Mar-17 22:57:29

This doesn't make sense
If you had a charge on the house the sellers solicitor would have had to contact you for a redemption statement

HiggeldyPiggeldy Thu 02-Mar-17 23:03:34

sorry the house is SSTC

whats a redemption certificate? I haven't been asked for anything, by the sellers solictor, when she finally spoke to me she said what will it take for you to remove the charge? its an online group lawyer

ChristinaParsons Fri 03-Mar-17 00:06:36

She asked what will it take for you to remove the charge
I.E. how much
What was your reply?
If contracts are not signed house is not sold

peukpokicuzo Fri 03-Mar-17 03:29:24

I'm not an expert in this area but I believe that the contracts can't be exchanged without your agreement.

So the question is: (a) what will your share be if the house is sold for the amount currently on the table? (b) what would your share be if it was sold for £40k more?. If the difference is significant then you do not have to agree to the sale.

Is the sale subsequent to the house being marketed openly through an estate agent or has it been arranged privately? Is there a chance your ex is arranging to sell the house for £40k less than full market value to someone to whom he owes £40k, in order to effectively force you to share paying off his debts? Or is he selling to a "sell now for cash" organisation that targets people who are desperate and pay way under the odds, to sell on at massive profit?

When people buy property through the government's help to buy scheme, the government has a charge on the property and have a rule that if the government stake in the property is 20% then when it is sold they get 20% of the sales price or 20% of the independently assessed full market value of the property whichever is the highest

You wouldn't be unreasonable to do something similar and insist that your share should be the share that you would get if it was sold at full market value if that is higher than the sale price. So if your ex is selling at a discount for convenience or any other reason then he takes the hit not you.

But make sure you specify the "whichever is highest" because if it has been marketed openly there may be something deeply wrong with it (eg if basic maintenance has been ignored) and it may be actually worth less.

HiggeldyPiggeldy Fri 03-Mar-17 08:59:36

thank you for replying to me;

I told the solicitor that phoned me that my share of the property would need to be paid, I got the impression she had no experience of charges, the solicitor working for me has.

My share would be affected by about 12k, I know that may not be a huge amount but to me it is significant. The sale has been done by an online estate agent. I am fairly certain that it is nothing to do with any debts he may have, but I think it could well be down to lack of maintenance, the deferred charge order does say the property should be kept "in good repair and condition" this may be standard wording, I don't know, but even taking this potential lack of maintenance into consideration the price still seems low.

him not maintaining the house and selling it below market value was something I did bring up with the solicitor who dealt with the divorce and charge. I'm just not sure how to question the price or if its even possible without having any contact with him

HiggeldyPiggeldy Fri 03-Mar-17 09:03:56

You wouldn't be unreasonable to do something similar and insist that your share should be the share that you would get if it was sold at full market value if that is higher than the sale price. So if your ex is selling at a discount for convenience or any other reason then he takes the hit not you.

this is what I want to do but the solicitor is not prepared to help me with this and I'm not sure what to do, also family and friends who know him and the history saying to let it go and take the hit

Spickle Fri 03-Mar-17 09:35:17

OP is your name on the Proprietorship Register on the title deeds? If so, your ex cannot sell without your agreement. You would have to sign the contract and transfer so if you are not happy with the price, don't sign these documents. If you have no contact with your ex, don't be railroaded into agreeing to sell the property at under value to an unknown buyer. It may create more hassle for your ex, but if you are joint owners of the property, your ex has to sell jointly with you. But yes, the charge will have to be repaid once the property is sold. Solicitors will not get involved in wrangles over house price or percentages owed, they will merely act in the acquisition or disposal of property.

By not signing any legal documents agreeing to the sale, you will force your ex into having to discuss this with you (or an intermediary) even if it means having to remarket the property again and losing the current buyer.


HiggeldyPiggeldy Fri 03-Mar-17 12:33:31

the house was bought in joint names does that mean I should be on the proprietorship register?

I do feel railroaded, will try discussing again with the solicitor the possibility of an intermediary

thank you for replying and for the advice, I really appreciate it

Spickle Fri 03-Mar-17 14:06:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LandRegRep1862 Fri 03-Mar-17 15:09:11

There are several things you will need to confirm/clarify here as the charge your refer relates to legal aid so is not like most charges, such as a mortgage. You still need to settle the debt and get them to discharge/redeem it so the same basic principles apply but you need to clarify what is registered as that is what the buyer will go by if they complete

If SSTC then any existing charges/interests on the register are likely to have to be dealt with for the seller to be able to complete.

If you and your ex were registered joint proprietors (check online as Spickle mentions) then you will both have to transfer the ownership if the purchase completes.

A legal aid charge would be registered as a restriction on the title rather than as a charge if you were both joint owners. It still impacts on everything but in a slightly different way. The check re your ownership will also confirm how the charge is protected.

Spickle Fri 03-Mar-17 16:34:27

If the house was bought in joint names then you will be named on a Proprietorship Register of the deeds. You can obtain a copy of the deeds from Land Registry for £3 if you want to check or get advice on anything in it which you want clarified.


expertanswers Fri 03-Mar-17 17:22:45

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

EnormousTiger Fri 03-Mar-17 19:16:51

I would do the £3 land registry search first to establish the facts.

Also loko at sold prices for properties locally. Advertised prices are often very misleading and make everything look much higher. You want to find similar houses near or on that road as sold - that data is available on line.

If the sale is at an undervalue can you find another buyer at the higher price? If so good, if not then I suspect the reduced price might actually be market value but worth challenging. A lot of divorce consent orders will specify who markets the property and which of you shows people round and who decides what offer is accepted to avoid exactly this problem.

HiggeldyPiggeldy Sat 04-Mar-17 12:29:58

sorry for the slow reply

I have done as advised and downloaded a copy of the details the land registry have, I am named on this but not as the owner but as a lender along with the Lord Chancellor and the bank where the mortgage is held, which explains why I have had no information from the mortgage company.

I had no idea of the value of the properties in the area so had looked at the prices of similar sold properties on right move, which is where I got the information, a property a few doors up identical but in terrible condition sold for 30k more.

I spoke again to my solicitor who then spoke to his solicitor stating that I was not happy with the sale price, that the property was undervalued and I may not want to proceed. However to complicate matters further, the mortgage was an endowment mortgage, the mortgage term has finished and the mortgage needs repaying which is why its up for sale, they have already given him a period of grace, which runs out at the end of this month. This means that the sale is now a matter of urgency. They have a redemption figure but its from end of October last year, they have asked for an up to date one.

My solicitor suggested that maybe ex should pay my legal aid charges as a compensation for the sale to go ahead, it is less than I would receive if the house sold for what I think is the market value but given all the circumstances I am not sure that I really have much choice.

EnormousTiger Sat 04-Mar-17 13:33:56

That sounds a good compromise. The other might be sale at a very quick auction as that gets the true market price too.

Are you also due a share of the house proceeds of sale (even though the house is not part owned by you) as part of your financial settlement on the divorce too?

HiggeldyPiggeldy Sat 04-Mar-17 13:43:55

I don't think there will be enough time to get it to auction before the grace period is over

I am due a share of the proceeds of the sale, which is I assume why I am listed as a lender rather than owner of the property

allchattedout Sun 05-Mar-17 21:30:12

Are you sure that your name does not appear in the proprietorship register? It is section B on the land registry documents. If not, the property was not bought in joint names- it must have been bought in your ex's sole name.

If your name is in section C, it suggests that you have registered an interest to prevent sale without it being removed. Were/are you married? If so, it could be a matrimonial home rights notice. The Lord Chancellor bit refers to the legal aid charge.

I presume that if this was a divorce, an order was made providing for sale of the house and division of the proceeds. Does it say anything in the order about the sale price needing to be agreed? Does it also say that the sale should be conducted jointly?

Are the solicitors aware that they need to pay half the proceeds to you? Just checking, seeing as you are not on the deeds.

allchattedout Sun 05-Mar-17 21:32:00

I am due a share of the proceeds of the sale, which is I assume why I am listed as a lender rather than owner of the property

I haven't seen the title document, but you are not listed as a lender. It is more likely that some form of notice will have been registered on your behalf to alert any buyer that you have an interest that needs to be dealt with on sale.

HiggeldyPiggeldy Sun 05-Mar-17 23:02:11

the property was bought in joint names, we were married and it is the financial settlement after a divorce. I didnt download the legal aid document or at least I cant find it will have to ask DP tomorrow he is the techy one

Does it say anything in the order about the sale price needing to be agreed? Does it also say that the sale should be conducted jointly?

no it doesn't say anything about the sale but the solicitor said the price should be agreed between us, I dont think there is time not to put it back up for sale before the grace period given to him by the mortgage company is up

allchattedout Sun 05-Mar-17 23:16:23

OK, if the mortgage company is about to possess, then you do need to sell it. Have you spoken to the agent about what you could realistically expect to get for the house? I would also suggest speaking to the mortgage company to see if there is any option for extending the grace period.

The thing is, it cannot have been bought in joint names if your name is not on the proprietorship register (section B). It would have been bought in his sole name (unless it was bought in joint names and then transferred to his sole name). Check the register again.

Your financial settlement should have been recorded into a consent order which should have been sealed by the court (usually about 2 pages long with a court stamp and will mention sale etc). You need to make sure that the solicitors have a copy of this so that they know how to distribute the proceeds. Have you had your decree absolute yet?

If the house is in joint names, you do not have to agree to sale at this price if it is for an undervalue. However, you need to factor in the potential issues with the mortgage company as well.

The solicitor needs to contact the Legal Aid Agency to get a final repayment figure for the charge. Maybe they were expecting you to do that which is why they asked what it would take to remove the charge.

OP, go through your paperwork again and make sure you are absolutely certain that you understand what is happening.

HiggeldyPiggeldy Mon 06-Mar-17 11:45:44

is it possible that it was put in his sole name when we were divorced? i know it was bought in joint names, my name was on the part with the lord chancellor and mortgage company but nowhere else that I recall.

I have only had the copy of the deferred charge which details when the property should be sold and my share etc We have the paperwork from the legal aid agency with the amount needed to meet the charge.

The decree absolute was 13years ago, the deferred charge document has a date of 2005 on it

HiggeldyPiggeldy Mon 06-Mar-17 11:49:32

my understanding of the process is;

house sale is completed, mortgage paid, legal aid charge paid, my share is paid to my solicitors then ex get the remainder

EnormousTiger Mon 06-Mar-17 17:36:35

O was assumint on the divorce the financial settlement put the house into the husband's name at that stage but with the wife' sinterest (the legal aid charge) notied. I suspect that is what happened. Their financial divorce / consent order does not give the poster power to decide the price.

The order of the process seems correct to me.

HiggeldyPiggeldy Mon 06-Mar-17 18:27:12

apparently I can stop the sale, if the house is being sold below the market value

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