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Ex refusal to sign property deeds


josperuk
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My ex husband and I bought a house together in March 2010. The house cost £110,000 with a 10% deposit (£7,500 paid by me and £3,500 paid by my ex). The property needed modernisation, and so we started stripping out the property in preparation for central heating, new windows and doors, re-plastering and new kitchen and bathroom. Prior to and following the purchase, my ex and I lived with my parents and our son at their house.

 

In October 2010, my ex walked out on me. He had taken a lease out on a flat, and told me that he could no longer pay his half of the mortgage repayments, as well as his flat rent and maintenance for our son. I agreed to pay the full mortgage repayments alone, and for him to pay £100 maintenance for our son a month, with him walking away from the house. He agreed to this, and I have paid the mortgage since.

 

I completed the work on the house, paying out everything on it myself. My son and I moved in to the property in October 2012.

 

In 2012, I sought advice from my solicitor in relation to formalising this agreement. My solicitor wrote to my ex and he agreed to sign the deeds to me, following me getting a mortgage on my own for the property. I went to the bank following this, but was told that I had too many debtors (1 credit card, 1 loan and a car lease), to allow them to give me a replacement mortgage, even though they could see my current account was managed, and that I had not missed a repayment on any of my debtors. The situation remained unchanged, while I waited for my loan and car lease to be paid off.

 

Because our arrangement was sorted, we decided to divorce. It was an online divorce to save us both money, as we'd both moved on and had new partners. Ex agreed to pay me half of the fees (not had them to date).

 

During the Summer 2013, my ex asked whether he was still on the mortgage and deeds. I explained that I hadn't been able to get a mortgage as hoped, but was going to try again within a couple of months (once loan and car lease paid off). My partner and I decided that we would like a bigger home together. We decided to put the house on the market. Estate agent required my ex to sign an agreement to this, which he did.

 

We sold the house within a couple of weeks. My solicitor then told me that the previous agreement my ex had signed was that he was allowing me to take the mortgage alone and consequently walk away from the house. She explained that due to the wording, that this didn't include me selling the house. My solicitor wrote to my ex again, requesting that he sign the deeds due to the change of circumstances. My ex claimed to have signed and returned the papers. Solicitor didn't receive anything. My solicitor again sent him appropriate form to sign, but again has not received anything.

 

Whilst picking my son up from him yesterday, we begun arguing over a separate issue. My ex said "Remember I hold the key to your house" referring to the deeds. I now fear that he is going to refuse to sign them, meaning that we lose out on the sale and a property that we'd put an offer in on.

 

I don't think that he is really entitled to anything, especiallIy as he'd agreed to walk away. I feel that he has become greedy, as I have sold the house for £135,000. What can I do to prevent losing the sales?

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Hello and welcome to CAG. I'm sorry to hear you're having problems. :(

 

I'm just going to move your thread out of Financial Legal and into General Legal because I think it's the right forum for you. I'll leave a short term redirect for you to follow from this forum to the new one.

 

I expect the guys will be along later or tomorrow.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Sorry to hear about this. You refer to a signed agreement - what is this agreement and what does it say? What was agreed about the property at the time of your divorce?

 

If it is established that you own 100% of the property, and that the only reason he is still on the deeds is because of the mortgage, then the courts do offer a solution to this. Judges have a statutory power to sign deeds/property transfer forms (TR1) which would be just as legally valid as his signature.

 

I have seen this used before in a situation where a seller exchanged contracts, but then refused to complete the sale because he thought he could get more money. The buyer took the seller to court, and got a court order that the seller must complete the sale. When the seller still refused to sign the TR1, the judge signed for him. The transfer was then registered at the land registry and the seller evicted from the property. The seller was made liable for all legal costs which were deducted from the purchase price.

 

I think this is quite difficult for a litigant in person to do, but certainly possible if you have 100% clear documentary proof that should be treated as the sole owner of the property. Realistically it may be better to use a solicitor and legal costs should be recoverable. The threat of being sued and being made liable for thousands in legal costs would hopefully be enough to make him see sense.

 

Have you already exchanged contracts? If so, and if the buyer decides to push things legally, then you could be in a difficult situation. The court process takes time and meanwhile you could be in breach of contract with the buyer. Ultimately he might be liable for this but still not a great situation.

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