QuoteReplyTopic: Joint ownership - what are my rights? Posted: 16/June/2012 at 14:51
Hi, I've been reading different posts on here as this is obviously a common situation but the information seems to differ on who has rights for what, so I'm posting for my situation specifically.
We bought the house in March 2009. We were engaged and lived together for 4 years prior. We broke up 2 months later and I moved out. He refused to pay any more on the mortgage or pay me any rent so for the sake of my credit rating, I paid (and still pay) half. Of everything - the mortgage payments, the rates, the water, the insurances, even when the electrician has to come around. It has been listed on the market just recently but it appears we cannot get any more than what will cover the mortgage, if that. Obviously the bank won't release the deed until the mortgage is paid in full so we can't sell for a "loss".
I don't know if the title is Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. I have been sucked dry financially by this place and I don't think I'll be able to come up with $5000+ to cover conveyancing and real estate comissions should it sell to cover the mortgage, but he is pushing and pushing to have it listed (which it still is).
Do I have any rights to reclaim any of the money I have put into the mortgage? Can I take him to court to have it rented? I read previously something about applying for separation or something but I didn't know anything about that until now. I have been refused legal aid and I cannot afford a lawyer at present. I would like the house gone entirely as would he but I just can't pull money from nowhere.
Ok, is there anything else to go with this? If I stop making payments and he doesn't cover them, I'm facing a very real possibility of default on the mortgage, or the bank swiping money from my account to cover arrears, which is why I've been paying it at all. I understand what you're saying and why you're saying that, I'm just saying there could be large consequences to me doing so.
Do I have any rights to reclaim any of the money I have put into the mortgage? .... I would like the house gone entirely as would he but I just can't pull money from nowhere.
It appears you have been paying the mortgage & all other costs yourself since about May 2009 & he has been living rent & mortgage free that whole time?
The only hope you have of restoring some balance into the equation is to file for a property settlement with the family court. You will need to seek leave to file because it's outside the 2 year time limit since you separated. I don't think it will be too hard for you to prove that hardship will result if leave is not granted so it should just be a formality in your case.
The advantage is that the court has the power to apportion debt as it deems warranted under the circumstances. I think in your case, the payments towards mortgage & all other costs associated with the maintenance & preservation of the place that you have made for 3 years, without any financial assistance, will be given some significant weight in your favour. With some luck, any liability still owing on the place once it's disposed of will be mostly if not entirely his.
As advised, I would be stopping any further payments immediately due to financial hardship. Inform the bank of the situation regarding the separation if you haven't already. Tell them you are filing for a property settlement & that you are still actively trying to sell the place in the meantime.
If you can't afford a solicitor, you may have to look at filing for settlement yourself to get the ball rolling. A community legal centre may be able to assist with paperwork, but it should be relatively straightforward.
Any opinion given should not be accepted as legal advice.
Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks
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