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Can I Legally Force My Ex to Sell Our Property?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 23 Sep 2019 |
 
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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I my ex wife still lives in how House we divorced 9 years ago my son was 11 years old at the time he as now finished schooling and as a job she lives there with a new partner I am now re married I have to rent all the time as I still part own the house how can I get the house sold
Mick - 23-Sep-19 @ 6:30 PM
I believe I have no option but to hand back the keys to my mortgage lender after 22 years of faultless payments due to the fact that my ex-wife who lives abroad and is joint owner refuses to have anything to do with selling our property. I would be happy to sell and give her her 50%. I myself need to move abroad soon and cannot continue paying the £1000 a month as I need to move on with my life and new wife. I need to know what the process involves and how much I will receive back from my lender once they sell the property and take their mortgage outstanding and penalties The mortgage is interest only - the amount loaned is £241,000 - the rough estimate of market value is £435,000
NeedToMoveOn - 20-Jun-19 @ 1:49 PM
I separated with my ex in 2011 , since then she has continued to live in a house the family home with our two children. I have received a letter recently from her solicitor asking me to sign the property over to her as she has been making payments to the mortgage since we broke up. This is true however I have always given her regular maintenance payments for the children and house. Where do I stand. The house has 150,000 equity approx.
Ryry - 12-Jun-19 @ 10:43 AM
I have been trying to sell our family home because my husband wants to come back against my wishes and an injunction.I have finally got a reasonable offer but he refuses to sell it.He has a domestic violence case pending.What can i do to force him to sell with not much money.
Iggy - 11-Jun-19 @ 10:54 PM
Hi My wife divorced me approximately 6 years ago and wanted nothing in the divorce. Her name is still on the mortgage and we both want it removing but it is going to cost me a lot to do this. She is now wanting to force me to sell the house l v paid the mortgage on since we've had it so she can buy another house with her new man. Can she force me too and if she can is she entitled to any money from the house sale? Thank you for any help you can offer.
Please - 18-May-19 @ 11:24 PM
Split with father of my 2 young boys but he won’t let me sell the house because we had a large gifted deposit from his dad. Told him I don’t care about that I just want to get 50% equity so that I can keep a roof over the kids heads. He still won’t let me. I have nowhere I can move to as a temp job and he will not leave which just makes everything worse. We’re not married. Can I force a sale? Where can I find help? I’m desperate for a solution because it’s going to start upsetting the little ones.
Help!! - 13-Mar-19 @ 12:17 PM
I'm trying to help my friend who is in an awful position. She moved out of the FMH in 2016 after 30 years of marriage, and took her teenage daughter with her (she suffers major anxiety/mental health issues). The marriage had broken down, and the husband was constantly arguing with the neighbour resulting in my friends's own mental health suffering so she had to move out for hers and her daughter's sake.She has a joint mortgage with her husband who is paying the mortgage as she has had to find a rental property. Husband does not contribute financially for the daughter, now 16. Husband is refusing to sell, after many promises that he will. She gave him time to sort himself out and after 2 years separation applied for a divorce using a solicitor in order to take the matter to financial court.He has not signed the papers and still refuses to sell saying she can go back to the FMH which is not an option due to current MH issues. She does not want anything from him other than 50% of the equity of the house, not even his pension/lump sum that he gets next year. Although husband is paying the mortgage he is self employed and is now on the sick as he says he has MH issues and back/leg issues. He refuses to help his situation eg. getting sickness benefit. She works part time but her tax credits etc stop at some point this year and she needs to move on and buy a property as rental is too expensive even though she is in a basic house. I'm also concerned that he may use his sickness to stop any sale, can he do that? What can she do please? Thank you.
Ferni - 7-Mar-19 @ 1:50 PM
My son and I moved out of the family home 7 years ago as my ex wouldn't leave me alone while we were living there,we got divorced albeit a very difficult along with a custody battle. Now 7 years on I still own half the property and my ex refuses to sell or buy me out even down to if he doesn't pay the council tax they take it out of my wages. I am in debt and desperately need my money out of the house to move on. I am working just to keep my head above water and he is living there with his new wife and her 4 children. I cannot afford to take him to court over this. What on earth can I do?
Desperate - 1-Mar-19 @ 3:14 PM
I left the FMH in Sept 2011. My ex and our 2 children still live there (they are 14 and 8). She remarried in 2013, I am about to remarry. My name is still on the old mortgage which is in heavy arrears. The building soc have taken the account to litigation dept on numerous occasions but it’s never been repossessed. Am I able to force a sale of the property to remove my name from the mortgage? If not, I have a lot of debts which I struggle to make payments on; could I declare myself bankrupt instead, and would this effectively remove my name from the mortgage debt?
Crosspatch - 18-Feb-19 @ 5:23 PM
I left the my home 10years ago now due to a violent husband I have lived with my daughter since , my aunty paid most of the mortgage off ,and my husband as been paying the interest only mortgage , now my daughter as got a family of her own now ,and i need to move out, but my husband will not leave or sell our home saying i have no rights now as i have moved out ,i dont know what to do .
Jay S - 17-Feb-19 @ 5:56 PM
I'm divorced and my ex husband is in prison for Crimea against myself and children he is in for over 30 years and I an not allowed to contact him . He won't agree to sign the sale of the house papers , is there a way i can get him off the mortgage or finacialy divorce him or get a court order with out a solicitor as I can not afford one
Grumpy - 12-Feb-19 @ 5:22 PM
I’m divorced and my ex refuses to sell our jointly owned property, he lives there and barely pays the mortgage to which he is responsible for whilst living there (agreed with his solicitor) until sale of property
Bev - 7-Feb-19 @ 5:03 PM
My wife and I are separated and she lives in the family home with my two children and her new partner. I have been paying the full mortgage for 16 months since our split. She won’t let me buy her out neither will she move or sell. I don’t want to be on the mortgage but she can not buy me out. Can I force a sale and what are my options as I am living with my mother and can’t afford to move on because of the amount I’m still paying.
GloveBox - 27-Jan-19 @ 5:37 PM
my wife and i are divorced and the court order we put our house up for sale this was august 2016 we did this and we did not get a offer near the price she lives in the house our kids our now adults she has taken the house off the market and now refuses to sell it even though the divorce judge order it in the judgement I am still paying the mortageagain order by the judge what can I do and what would be the cost
wildthing - 13-Jan-19 @ 10:38 PM
me and my wife have split up we have 2 kids. can I sell or buy our marital home. wife doesn't want to move out or remove my name from mortgage. she owns another property. I want to know if I have rights or am i entitled to anything. thanks stuart
mag00 - 22-Nov-18 @ 11:39 AM
My ex wife moved out of the family home 17 years ago. She has since remarried and owns her own home. Can I sell the house without her? Is she entitled to any?
Caz - 16-Nov-18 @ 1:40 PM
My ex and I have been split up for around 14 years but she still lives in our joint house with my son who is 16 now. She refuses to sell the house. The council have paid the interest only on this mortgage so she hasn’t contributed to most of the running costs. While I have had to rent another house which is 3 x the cost of the mortgage on our house. I can’t buy another house though because I can’t afford the increase in stamp duty due to my name being on another mortgage and it is then classed as a second home. I also need the money from the equity for a deposit on a house. What are my rights? Would a court look in favour of her due to my son only being 16? And still in education? Thank you
Dave - 7-Oct-18 @ 9:17 PM
My ex-moved out of the property joint owners 20 years ago, Hehas his own property he lives in and now he wants to force me to sell my home because he wants his share, he has not paid the mortgage I all that time - nothing can he force me to sell, we were not married
munchkin - 1-Oct-18 @ 6:07 PM
Hello, My girlfriend and I have been together for over 5 years. She left her ex-husband as she discovered he was having an affair. He allowed him to remain in the family home which she is names on the mortgage and the agreement was that he paid for her half of the mortgage in return for her not receiving and child support money. This week the mortgage company have written to her and asked to contact them as they knew she doesn't live in the property and never had our contact details. On calling them they let us know that the property is in severe arrears and legal action has started. Her ex-husband maintains he will pay it all off but this will never happen he's just lying to stop her from taking action. Do we need a solicitor to apply to the court to force the sale of the property through? It will either get repossessed or we have time to sell. Any help would be greatful.
Cosh - 26-Sep-18 @ 9:41 AM
Hello I recently split with my partner of 7 years. We are looking to sell our property. She is insisting we sell it to her mom for a lot less than it is valued at. I have said no and want it to go on market at full valued price. I am in my rights to say no to her mom? Also her mom gave us some money for the deposit and signed a gifted deposit letter saying she will not expect this money back. She is now asking for this 6k back? Surely i don't have to give it her? The reason we split is because she had an affair. Thank you.
Jsf - 21-Sep-18 @ 2:31 PM
colin - Your Question:
Can I legally force my wife to sell her flat.

Our Response:
Much depends upon the situation, how long you have been married for, whether you are the joint owner, how long she owned the flat prior to marriage? We cannot answer a question on such sparse information.
DivorceResource - 10-Sep-18 @ 3:27 PM
can I legally force my wife to sell her flat.
colin - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:31 AM
Gk - Your Question:
I recently found out my ex fiancé cheated on me so I left for a month and now how moved back in she is threating me with a non molestation order even though I have done nothing wrong we own half the house and asked for 30000 to move out which she keeps saying will take a while even though I could pay her the money within 10 weeks we also have two children 6 and 9 what are my options?

Our Response:
If you both own the house, then both of you are entitled to live under the same roof. If there is any domestic violence in the house as a result of arguments etc, please see the link here . As a general rule, the primary carer of the children (the parent who looks after the children on a day-to-day basis) is given priority by the courts as the person who can remain in the home with the children (the court will always put the child’s best interests first). You can see more about what happens to the home on separation via the link here . You may also wish to seek legal advice regarding this matter in order to fully explore your options.
DivorceResource - 3-Sep-18 @ 4:09 PM
I recently found out my ex fiancé cheated on me so I left for a month and now how moved back in she is threating me with a non molestation order even though I have done nothing wrong we own half the house and asked for 30000 to move out which she keeps saying will take a while even though I could pay her the money within 10 weeks we also have two children 6 and 9 what are my options?
Gk - 29-Aug-18 @ 7:09 PM
My wife moved out around 8 months ago of the marital home which we were paying a mortgage as she was having an affair and decided torent somewhere else.She has now been asked to leave the property and has requested that I leave the marital home so she can move back.I have refused this request but have told her that I could not stop her from moving back if that was what she wanted.She has refused this request and now wants to sell the house and informed me that she can do this without my consent.Can she do this?
Billy - 25-Aug-18 @ 7:17 PM
I have been seperated from my ex for over 7 years and moved out leaving my children and her living there i was told i canot forse sale of the house until my youngest is 18 im now married and want to move on in my life but cannot get a mortgage because my name is still on the house i own with my ex. Is there anything i can do to get my money from the house and my name off the mortgage
Bob - 24-Aug-18 @ 9:21 PM
Oliver - Your Question:
I separated from my ex 4 years ago due to her having an affair. She asked me to leave the FMH which we have a joint mortgage. We also have two children under the age of 18 who still live in the FMH with their mother. She has now moved the person she had the affair with into our FMH and has also had a child to that person. I have moved on and met someone and wish to buy somewhere with them but unable currently to get a mortgage as still have joint mortgage with ex. Currently I live with my elderly parents and my children stay every week. My ex says she can’t get her own mortgage as she has a lot of debt that she occurred after I moved out but that was her buying new stuff for the house for her and her new baby and baby’s Dad. I need to move forward with my life and out of my Parents but feel like she has me over a barrel as our children are not yet 18, however they are teenagers. If I can get my own place with my new partner my children will have their own bedrooms with us.

Our Response:
Your commitment in the first place is to the mortgage lender. Unless your ex is willing to sell or can afford to buy you out it means you are in a stalemate position. Mediation may be the way forward in order to try to find a way around the situation.
DivorceResource - 17-Aug-18 @ 10:25 AM
I separated from my ex 4 years ago due to her having an affair. She asked me to leave the FMH which we have a joint mortgage. We also have two children under the age of 18 who still live in the FMH with their mother. She has now moved the person she had the affair with into our FMH and has also had a child to that person. I have moved on and met someone and wish to buy somewhere with them but unable currently to get a mortgage as still have joint mortgage with ex. Currently I live with my elderly parents and my children stay every week. My ex says she can’t get her own mortgage as she has a lot of debt that she occurred after I moved out but that was her buying new stuff for the house for her and her new baby and baby’s Dad. I need to move forward with my life and out of my Parents but feel like she has me over a barrel as our children are not yet 18, however they are teenagers. If I can get my own place with my new partner my children will have their own bedrooms with us.
Oliver - 16-Aug-18 @ 8:01 PM
Mick - Your Question:
My wife left our home nearly 10 months ago to move in with another man. Our house is in danger of reposession but she wont sign the paperwork to sell it. can I force her to

Our Response:
You would have to refer the matter to court in order to force the issue. A solicitor's letter saying you will if she doesn't sign by a certain date may help.
DivorceResource - 16-Aug-18 @ 2:47 PM
My wife left our home nearly 10 months ago to move in with another man . Our house is in danger of reposession but she wont sign the paperwork to sell it .. can i force her to
Mick - 16-Aug-18 @ 10:09 AM
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