Breaking up when you own a house together

Breakups are always hard, no matter what circumstance, but if you’ve invested your money into a property together, it can be even more difficult and complicated to recover financially.

Those close to you may suggest just closing down the joint account or to ‘make sure you are only paying your half or what water/electric/gas you’ve used’ but unfortunately it isn’t always as easy as that because you’ve made a legal commitment that you’ll need to see through and sort together – even though you are no longer bounded by a relationship.

You are both liable for the property, and thus all the payments that go with it. Lenders (banks/mortgage companies) understandably, don’t care about your relationship troubles they care about getting their money back. Not paying will impact your future credit score, and the possibility of you getting a mortgage again.

What you’re responsible for…

Unless the breakup is timed with the end of the lease on your house, you will still be responsible for paying the remainder of the lease, and so you’ll need to remain in close communication (despite wanting to probably to run as far away as possible).

Breakups happen for all sorts of reasons. While you may think it’s easier to go through a breakup if you aren’t married, you do not have the same protections in a property as a married couple, even though you may be facing similar problems.

Where to turn to for advice…

If ever you have any doubts, questions, or concerns some of the best places to seek advice nowadays are:

  1. Citizens advice – you can call them or even book an appointment online to see someone in person if you’d rather that than over the phone. Please always remember they aren’t there to judge your situation whatever it may be, they’re there to hep you, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed things didn’t work. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help no matter how small or big. This is FREE service, you don’t have to worry if you’re on a tight budget or worried about solicitor fees and not being able to afford one
  2. Seek advice from a solicitor – you can actually book to see a solicitor for a “mini” consultation. What this means is you can have 15/20 minutes of him or her time for no charge whatsoever. This is your time to take advantage of the free things in life and ask as many questions as you can in that time frame. They will be able to point you in the right direction

What are your options?

Not every break up is messy or complicated. In some situations, a break up can be completely amicable, for example, you’ve both decided your relationship is more like a friendship, so you’ve decided to part ways. If you own a property together and this is your situation it may be as easy as discussing these 3 options:

  1. One of you buy each other out of the property depending on your situation so again you would have to know your rights and where you stand regarding re-mortgaging
  2. You get in touch with an estate agency and you arrange a meeting with them to come around to the property and discuss your options such as renting it out together as an investment or simply getting a valuation on selling the property
  3. Renting the property out together- this isn’t for everyone, so please ask for all the details from an estate agent regarding this. You can even have very little communication with your ex-partner with this option

If you’re still unsure of where you stand or how it all works don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and simply call an estate agency and explain to them your situation. They will be able to point you in the right direction.

 This post was composed by Chloe Escritt