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Can I Legally Force My Ex to Sell Our Property?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 14 Jul 2018 |
 
Divorce Marital Home Solicitor Joint

Q.

Please can you let me know whether I can legally force my husband to sell our property, he has been very difficult and unco-operative. He is not paying enough of the mortgage which it has now gone into arrears. We have no children under the age of 23.

(B.G, 21 April 2009)

A.

I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties with your husband. This is obviously not a situation that should be allowed to continue because sooner or later the lender will start to ask questions about the arrears.

Seek Legal Advice

The answer to your question depends on numerous factors but I would advise you to see a solicitor as early as possible. The best way to do this in the first instance is to ask the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for a list of local solicitors who will be able to give you half an hours worth of free legal advice.

Separation/Divorce

I am unable to determine from your question as to whether you and your husband are still together and living in the same house. If you are separated it also may be sensible to seek advice from your lawyer about what would happen in the event that you divorced your husband (I assume you aren’t already divorced) and the way in which your shared assets and your home would be split.

If your relationship has broken down, and both of you own your home as ‘joint tenants’ the first thing you would need to do is sever the tenancy to make you ‘tenants in common.’ Your solicitor will be better placed to advise you on this.

Forcing the Sale

What I can tell you is that if you own your house jointly in a ‘trust for sale’ you may be able to force the sale of the property. This is done by applying for a court order that would in effect allow for the property to be sold, and would provide a timescale within which it should be sold.

What You Should Do

At this stage, you should make a note of the way in which your husband is being un-cooperative, and in as much detail as possible what he has done to get you into this situation. This will be very useful for your solicitor in the event that you do need to apply for a court order.

I really think it’s best that you go and seek legal advice straight away. Good luck.

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[Add a Comment]
Hayley - Your Question:
My ex has been sent to prison for a very very long time (38years ) he is still joint owner of the house. Am I legally allowed to sell my house without having to ask him ?

Our Response:
Your ex would have to sign all documents, so you would have to get his permission. If he refuses permission, you would have to apply to the courts.
DivorceResource - 16-Jul-18 @ 12:53 PM
My ex has been sent to prison for a very very long time (38years ) he is still joint owner of the house . Am I legally allowed to sell my house without having to ask him ?
Hayley - 14-Jul-18 @ 1:06 PM
I have now been separated from my wife for about 10yrs now the kids are now 24/26 so there’s no problem there I had a severe heart attack about 6month ago the doctors say I was very lucky to still be alive they also said I wouldn’t be able to work again because of my condition Now what I’m asking is can I make my wife to sell the house because I only get £212 a month benefits I have to keep asking my brother to help me out and he’s a pensioner and also she has had many “partners “ living there even tho she’s on benefitsIhave tried several times to get in touch with her about it but she refuses to answer anything I say so would you please steer me into some direction I can go if I’m entitled
Roymund - 13-Jul-18 @ 3:58 PM
@Falkirk- It all depends on how long they have been living in the house and how long his name has been on the title deeds. If they don't agree to a financial settlement on the sale of the house then court is the only way to resolve it. But as his name is on the deeds he is part owner.
Chris - 10-Jul-18 @ 3:37 PM
Hi my current girlfriend is living in her own home her last partner who was a bad debtor moved in because he couldn’t get his name added to her mortgage and deeds he had is father do it so now the old man is on the mortgage with my partner he hasn’t contributed anything and she’s worried he could force her to sell it and may be able to take half the proceeds can you advise please on what he can or can’t do thanks guys,Andy
Falkirk - 10-Jul-18 @ 11:12 AM
I moved out and away from the country(Australia) where the marital home is and back to uk, before this my husband moved from the country leaving the house and me and kids. Since being back home in uk i have tried to get him to sell the house which is at the moment being rented out without my permission because he wants the house for himself. There has been no financial settlement as he refuses to declare on an eform and is threatening me again saying I have to pay the mortgage share if I do not allow the house to be rented. Meanwhile I live in rented house with our two kids which he sees 3 times a year if that! He wants the house but won’t buy me out unless I settle for one whole payment and not a share of pensions or no spousal payment. No one knows how much he earns and what the savings are as he has full control since I split from him 3 years ago. I am going now to court but live on a shoe string because I have min wages and no credit as I lived abroad. Can I ask for my share of the rent being collected as he wants to keep the house?
Pop - 4-Jul-18 @ 2:57 PM
The house should be for the wife not the husband to sell it any time if the wife die the house should go to mortgageor gov. husband should not get the house if the wife die he.we have to stop all crime he can work for anew house wife is not easy to have other house like man does wife would notdo that unless the husband is not good for her
soha - 18-Jun-18 @ 2:07 PM
I've owned my property since 1992. In 2004 I was getting married and I made house a joint property adding my husband to the mortgage and house deeds. We also took a secured loan on the property to pay off joint debts. The marriage broke down and he left in 2009. Since then, I have continued to pay the mortgage and secured loan with no contribution from him towards either. He has married again and has 2 children he wants to mortgage a new house and wants his name removing. I have also married 2 years ago. The bank won't remove my ex from the mortgage as I have a debt recovery plan in place. I have to be 12 months debt free before they will consider putting the mortgage in my name. My ex is threatening to force a sale. As he has been liable for the mortgage and secured loan for the last 9 years and has not contributed, could he force a sale? There are no arrears on the mortgage or loan. Where do I stand?
Linzlozza - 5-Jun-18 @ 9:51 PM
Elaine - Your Question:
I sold my flat and bought a house with my ex partner, I paid the deposit, legal fees and stamp duty from the money of my flat sale. I moved out 7 years ago and have had no contact with my ex, within a couple of months of me moving out he rented the property which just about covered the mortgage. He was supposed to be buying me out but decided he would make it as difficult as possible for me. I havent paid anything towards the mortgage over the last 7 years as I have been paying credit cards that we both used but were in my name. I have been staying in private rented accomodation because of the situation. I now wish to get my name off the mortgage so I can buy somewhere but he is refusing compensate me for any money I put into the house, even though the tennants have been paying the mortgage.

Our Response:
Your only recourse would be to refer the matter to court, if you wish to reclaim the money you put into the house. You don't say whether you have kids or not. If you do, it will make a difference as the court will decide first and foremost what it thinks is in your children's best interest. Seeking professional legal advice may benefit you here.
DivorceResource - 5-Jun-18 @ 11:45 AM
I sold my flat and bought a house with my ex partner, i paid the deposit, legal fees and stamp duty from the money of my flat sale. I moved out 7 years ago and have had no contact with my ex, within a couple of months of me moving out he rented the property which just about covered the mortgage. He was supposed to be buying me out but decided he would make it as difficult as possible for me. I havent paid anything towards the mortgage over the last 7 years as i have been paying credit cards that we both used but were in my name. I have been staying in private rented accomodation because of the situation. I now wish to get my name off the mortgage so i can buy somewhere but he is refusing compensate me for any money i put into the house, even though the tennants have been paying the mortgage.
Elaine - 4-Jun-18 @ 4:12 PM
Diego T - Your Question:
I'm currently living in my house on my own that I have a mortgage on with my wife. My wife moved out to rented property in November (6 months ago). I paid my wife off, not through solicitors as we didnt want to get any involved as we have a young child together. I put the house up for sale in march time and have received a sensible offer, yet my wife wont agree to sell. I really just want to sell and get rid, also my mortgage special rate ends in november and reverts to variable rate which I wont be able to afford on my own. I really need help regarding what to do.

Our Response:
If your ex refuses to sell, your only option is to ask her to consider mediation in order to try to resolve any issues you may have between you regarding this matter. If she refuses, you would have no other option but to apply to court.
DivorceResource - 4-Jun-18 @ 2:05 PM
I'm currently living in my house on my own that I have a mortgage on with my wife. My wife moved out to rented property in November (6 months ago). I paid my wife off, not through solicitors as we didnt want to get any involved as we have a young child together. I put the house up for sale in march time and have received a sensible offer, yet my wife wont agree to sell. I really just want to sell and get rid, also my mortgage special rate ends in november and reverts to variable rate which i wont be able to afford on my own. I really need help regarding what to do.
Diego T - 2-Jun-18 @ 9:45 AM
Priya - Your Question:
Hi, My boyfriend has been split with his wife for two and a half years. She threw him out. Hasnt received anything from the house contents wise. She has refused him entry to the house. The mortgage is in my partners sole name. He pays the mortgage. They have one son under 18. He has been living in a friends property just paying bills and can barely pay the debts his ex left him. His ex is also heavily in debt. He is trying to get divorce and wants 50/50 custody. She is preventing him from seeing his son when she feels like. Says cant make her sell the house. ( even though both parties have debts) The mortgage is in my boyfriends name. Can she do this to him. nothing from the house. Cant sell the house? She had a flood in house recently and he wanted access to check on it but she wont let him.can she legally do this? Refuses to talk to him and solicitors are costing a fortune and getting no where. Together for 23 years married for 8.

Our Response:
If your boyfriend's ex irefuses to attend mediation in order to try to sort these issues out, his only recourse would be to apply for a child arrangement order to see his son and also apply for the court to decide upon what should happen to the house (as part of the order). Please see link here .
DivorceResource - 31-May-18 @ 2:34 PM
Hi, My boyfriend has been split with his wife for two and a half years. She threw him out. Hasnt received anything from the house contents wise. She has refused him entry to the house. The mortgage is in my partners sole name. He pays the mortgage. They have one son under 18. He has been living in a friends property just paying bills and can barely pay the debts his ex left him. His ex is also heavily in debt. He is trying to get divorce and wants 50/50 custody. She is preventing him from seeing his son when she feels like. Says cant make her sell the house. ( even though both parties have debts) The mortgage is in my boyfriends name. Can she do this to him... nothing from the house. Cant sell the house? She had a flood in house recently and he wanted access to check on it but she wont let him...can she legally do this? Refuses to talk to him and solicitors are costing a fortune and getting no where. Together for 23 years married for 8.
Priya - 29-May-18 @ 12:40 PM
Bereaved mum - Your Question:
I am separated and divorced from my violent ex husband and we own 2 properties one in which he lives and the other where I live and shared with my son until he unfortunately passed away from cancer last January at just 19 yrs of age. My ex husband has never contributed to my mortgage although his name is on the deeds and he was offered the choice of which of the 2 properties he wanted to live in when I left for our own safety, he originally stayed here and I and my son moved in with my parents havjng to have a panic button installed in their home for 6 months through threats from him as the other property was rented out at the time. He eventually agreed to return to the other house which was the cheaper option after the tenants left thinking that I would not be able to keep up the mortgage payments and would have to sell, but I did working 7 days a week. Now my son has passed away he has become totally unreasonable and is not satisfied with the property that he has, he has let it go to rack and ruin whilst mine is maintained to a high standard. We have been to court where the judge assumed that we were there for a clean break. Not to be as he now wants £20k plus the proceeds from the other house. I have been given 3 months to find this or I will have to sell to raise the funds. My home is worth roughly £200k and there is another £15k mutual debt that I have had to consolidate and pay through a debt management plan as he has never contributed to anything. He declares £13k earnings per year that I know is not true but I cannot prove it. Selling my home is not really going to help as house prices are more than what I could sell for and I cannot remortgage because of my age and the debt management plan. Renting would be higher than my mortgage repayment as it stands I am at my wits end as I can see myself in the street I cannot raise the £20k from anywhere. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear about the death of your son. However, unfortunately, if the court has ordered this, then you would have to keep to the terms of the order. Otherwise you will be in breach.
DivorceResource - 21-May-18 @ 3:32 PM
I am separated and divorced from my violent ex husband and we own 2 properties one in which he lives and the other where i live and shared with my son until he unfortunately passed away from cancer last January at just 19 yrs of age.. My ex husband has never contributed to my mortgage although his name is on the deeds and he was offered the choice of which of the 2 properties he wanted to live in when I left for our own safety, he originally stayed here and I and my son moved in with my parents havjng to have a panic button installed in their home for 6 months through threats from him as the other property was rented out at the time. He eventually agreed to return to the other house which was the cheaper option after the tenants left thinking that I would not be able to keep up the mortgage payments and would have to sell, but I did working 7 days a week. Now my son has passed away he has become totally unreasonable and is not satisfied with the property that he has, he has let it go to rack and ruin whilst mine is maintained to a high standard. We have been to court where the judge assumed that we were there for a clean break ... Not to be as he now wants £20k plus the proceeds from the other house. I have been given 3 months to find this or I will have to sell to raise the funds .. My home is worth roughly £200k and there is another £15k mutual debt that I have had to consolidate and pay through a debt management plan as he has never contributed to anything. He declares £13k earnings per year that I know is not true but I cannot prove it. Selling my home is not really going to help as house prices are more than what I could sell for and I cannot remortgage because of my age and the debt management plan. Renting would be higher than my mortgage repayment as it stands I am at my wits end as I can see myself in the street I cannot raise the £20k from anywhere ... Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated
Bereaved mum - 21-May-18 @ 2:15 PM
Scmmt - Your Question:
Hi,I have a joint mortgage on my house with my first wife and I lived in the property paying the mortgage. I met someone else and she moved into my house. We got married and the marriage has fell apart. I had to leave the house due to an injunction but she is not paying the mortgage. Is she entitled to any share of the house and how do I get my house back. The injunction states I cannot go within 50m of where she resides.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how long you have been married and whether you have children together. You may wish to seek legal advice here as is, as your options are dependent upon varying factors. However, if your ex refuses to leave the house, then you would have to apply to court.
DivorceResource - 21-May-18 @ 11:56 AM
klara - Your Question:
I left my husband in the year 1998 and when I moved I took all the imoverble assets out of the house I only left him his cloths and a bed and a broken kitchen table we use to live on a farm that time then my husband and I receive a municipal house in 2003 only my husband signed for the house and he lived in the house alone now he sold the house without my consent can he do that even thou I never lived in the house

Our Response:
If you had separated before your husband was given the house, then it is unlikely you would be allowed a claim. Only if your husband used jointly owned money to purchase it might you have a claim.
DivorceResource - 21-May-18 @ 11:37 AM
Hi, I have a joint mortgage on my house with my first wife and I lived in the property paying the mortgage. I met someone else and she moved into my house. We got married and the marriage has fell apart. I had to leave the house due to an injunction but she is not paying the mortgage. Is she entitled to any share of the house and how do I get my house back . The injunction states I cannot go within 50m of where she resides .
Scmmt - 20-May-18 @ 6:29 PM
I left my husband in the year 1998 andwhen I moved I took all the imoverble assets out of the house I only left him his cloths and a bed and a broken kitchen table we use to live on a farm that time then my husband and I receive a municipal house in 2003 only my husband signed for the houseand he lived in the house alone now he sold the house without my consent can he do that even thou I never lived in the house
klara - 20-May-18 @ 6:20 PM
raddar - Your Question:
I married someone from abroad. we were married for 10 years and a few months after she got the right to stay and citizenship she started proceedings for divorce. I suffered depression before the divorce but work kept me occupied until I was made redundant and then I became clinically depressed to a stage where I could not make rational decisions about anything. Before I met my ex I had no debts but I followed her down a path of borrowing with no intelligent recourse to repay. we had 2 children together of which we agreed that I would take charge of. I went on a vacation because the tension between us was out of hand. when I came back she told me that she was taking charge of "her" children.she had a change of mind because she found that she could get accomodation if she had minors and also that she could get government financial help because of the children I did not contest because I could see the distress the whole event was having on the children. I was very distressed and depressed. I did not contest the divorce. the finality of the divorce document stated that she has no interest in the family home and would not pursue interest. the latter was because I had large amounts of debt and there was little if any equity in the property. when we were together I was the sole provider and all bills and expenses and mortgage was paid by myself. my ex did not pursue the route of child support.shortly after my depression subsided I began work and damaged my back and could not work for a year. (2014). I have struggled to keep up mortgage payments to which the burden of the major part has been met by my mother who is a 80 year old pensioner. I spent a year where I could not walk properly and then I had cancer. I have not worked for over 3 years and the burden of the mortgage has more than taken its toll. my ex never paid anything towards the mortgage to which remained the same when she left. I need to sell because I dont work due to ill health. its a joint mortgage and for over a year she would not discuss house ownership finances. we have a property abroad to which she refused to sell. as regards to the property here what are my options? do I need to get her to sign to have her name removed form the ownership and what avenues do I have if she refuses.

Our Response:
You would need your ex to sign to release her commitments. If your ex refuses to agree to sign, then you would have to apply for financial mediation or court. If you do, unfortunately this will cost.
DivorceResource - 4-May-18 @ 12:34 PM
i married someone from abroad. we were married for 10 years and a few months after she got the right to stay and citizenship she started proceedings for divorce. I suffered depression before the divorce but work kept me occupied until i was made redundant and then I became clinically depressed to a stage where i could not make rational decisions about anything. Before i met my ex i had no debts but i followed her down a path of borrowing with no intelligent recourse to repay. we had 2 children together of which we agreed that i would take charge of. i went on a vacation because the tension between us was out of hand. when i came back she told me that she was taking charge of "her" children.she had a change of mind because she found that she could get accomodation if she had minors and also that she could get government financial help because of the children i did not contest because i could see the distress the whole event was having on the children. I was very distressed and depressed. i did not contest the divorce. the finality of the divorce document stated that she has no interest in the family home and would not pursue interest. the latter was because i had large amounts of debt and there was little if any equity in the property. when we were together i was the sole provider and all bills and expenses and mortgage was paid by myself. my ex did not pursue the route of child support. shortly after my depression subsided i began work and damaged my back and could not work for a year. (2014) . i have struggled to keep up mortgage payments to which the burden of the major part has been met by my mother who is a 80 year old pensioner. i spent a year where i could not walk properly and then i had cancer. i have not worked for over 3 years and the burden of the mortgage has more than taken its toll. my ex never paid anything towards the mortgage to which remained the same when she left. i need to sell because i dont work due to ill health . its a joint mortgage and for over a year she would not discuss house ownership finances. we have a property abroad to which she refused to sell. as regards to the property here what are my options? do i need to get her to sign to have her name removed form the ownership and what avenues do i have if she refuses.
raddar - 1-May-18 @ 10:44 PM
Panties - Your Question:
I still jointly own the ex marital home and the divorce went through some time ago now. The DWP are paying the joint mortgage as she doesnt work. She has 3 children and 1 is my daughter who's 11 now. There are conditions as to when the house can be sold-* She co-habbits * She marries again * She dies * My daughter leaves full time education * My daughter doesnt live there anymore * My daughter turns 18, so 7 years timeTo buy the house I sold my own home and put the profit from it into the jointly owned home as a deposit. Due to ill health and my disability I am unable to work myself. I am on ESA, DLA and full Housing Benefit. I have enough money coming in by way of my benefits and Ive been thinking about any profit to come out of sale of the house in 7 years time.I would like my share which is about 27% of the profit to go directly to my daughter and not myself. Is this something I can get arrange? Any lump sum of money is going to cause me issues with my benrfits and I am not able to handle the stress of change.

Our Response:
Some benefits are means-tested.In other words, the amount of income and capital you have can affect your eligibility. Means-tested benefits are available to people who can demonstrate that their income and capital are below a certain level. You can see what means-tested benefits which may be affected via the Turn2Us link here.
DivorceResource - 26-Apr-18 @ 11:20 AM
I still jointly own the ex marital home and the divorce went through some time ago now. The DWP are paying the joint mortgage as she doesnt work. She has 3 children and 1 is my daughter who's 11 now. There are conditions as to when the house can be sold- * She co-habbits * She marries again * She dies * My daughter leaves full time education * My daughter doesnt live there anymore * My daughter turns 18, so 7 years time To buy the house I sold my own home and put the profit from it into the jointly owned home as a deposit. Due to ill health and my disability I am unable to work myself. I am on ESA, DLA and full Housing Benefit. I have enough money coming in by way of my benefits and Ive been thinking about any profit to come out of sale of the house in 7 years time. I would like my share which is about 27% of the profit to go directly to my daughter and not myself. Is this something I can get arrange? Any lump sum of money is going to cause me issues with my benrfits and I am not able to handle the stress of change.
Panties - 25-Apr-18 @ 7:29 AM
Richie rich - Your Question:
My partner of 18 years move out of the family home as her excuse was we have drifted apart.She has moved in with her friend who only has a two bedroom flat and left me with our three children.We are in the middle of court procedures as to custody of the kids. Im going for full custody and she wants 50/50 custody but she has nowhere suitable to live with the children at the moment.Can she make me sell the house for her share of the capital so that she can get her own place taking in mind the kids live with me at the moment.

Our Response:
If the children are currently living with you, then you will be considered the primary carer (especially if you are the person in receipt of child benefit). In which case, it is possible you would be allowed to remain in the house. However, much depends upon the individual situation and who is considered the primary carer on a general day-to-day basis. If you both normally share the care of the children, the court will take this into consideration and try to continue this arrangement. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. You can see more about child arrangement orders via the link here . The CAB link here may also be useful.
DivorceResource - 20-Apr-18 @ 9:48 AM
My partner of 18 years move out of the family home as her excuse was we have drifted apart.She has moved in with her friend who only has a two bedroom flat and left me with our three children. We are in the middle of court procedures as to custody of the kids. Im going for full custody and she wants 50/50 custody but she has nowhere suitable to live with the children at the moment. Can she make me sell the house for her share of the capital so that she can get her own place taking in mind the kids live with me at the moment.
Richie rich - 19-Apr-18 @ 2:39 PM
Hjo - Your Question:
I went to mediation with my ex. It was ordered that I list the house for sale. He only wants me to sell out of spite. Both our daughters were born and raised here and he was angry that I would not take him back after his cheating. The mediator also said I could try and buy him out. We agreed on a price. I listed the house as required. I was just lucky enough to get a loan to be able to buy him out of his share. Now he's not answering his lawyers calls to fill out the paper work and get his money. Can he refuse to accept the buyout?

Our Response:
Your ex can refuse to continue with the agreement if he chooses. If you wish to pursue the matter, then you would have the option to apply to court.
DivorceResource - 19-Apr-18 @ 11:28 AM
I went to mediation with my ex. It was ordered that I list the house for sale. He only wants me to sell out of spite. Both our daughters were born and raised here and he was angry that I would not take him back after his cheating.The mediator also said I could try and buy him out. We agreed on a price. I listed the house as required. I was just lucky enough to get a loan to be able to buy him out of his share. Now he's not answering his lawyers calls to fill out the paper work and get his money. Can he refuse to accept the buyout?
Hjo - 18-Apr-18 @ 12:16 AM
isa - Your Question:
HiMe and my husband took out mortgage six month ago. I want to leave and divorce. He is not having it. He says he cannot afford to pay mortgage on his own but when I say I will stay in the house and sell it he does not want to sell. I do not want to live in the same house with him but I am worried that if the mortgage is not paid, it will go in arrears and the house will be re-possessed. Of course I do not want that, but feel like I am being pressurized to stay. We have no children. I would like to understand what are my options and what could I do in this situation.

Our Response:
You obviously need to have the conversation again. If your husband does not wish to sell, your only option would be to apply to court, which will cost you both financially in legal fees and court costs. It is obviously better to come to a mutual agreement. So, trying to push for this, or mediation may help whilst at the same time warning that court would be an option too, unless he can buy you out, as you wish to sell and will push to sell. On the other hand, it might be wise to stay in the property until the matter is resolved, as once you move out your husband could become even more awkward. At least you have more control regarding making the house ready for sale and showing around viewers whilst living in the house. One of the problems that can occur is that a reluctant spouse agrees to selling in principle, but can consciously or subconsciously put off potential buyers when conducting the sale.
DivorceResource - 17-Apr-18 @ 12:22 PM
Hi Me and my husband took out mortgage six month ago. I want to leave and divorce. He is not having it. He says he cannot afford to pay mortgage on his own but when I say I will stay in the house and sell it he does not want to sell. I do not want to live in the same house with him but I am worried that if the mortgage is not paid, it will go in arrears and the house will be re-possessed. Of course I do not want that, but feel like I am being pressurized to stay. We have no children. I would like to understand what are my options and what could I do in this situation.
isa - 16-Apr-18 @ 7:41 PM
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