Splitting equity and arrears help please!

Please bear with me while I explain this.
my ex wife and I own jointly a property. (Where we both own 100%)
she has lived there exclusively with her husband for 14 years. 
In that time she has not paid the mortgage (she moved it to interest only and has defaulted every other month or so)

More recently she’s allowed the property to accumulate arrears of almost £6k (again interest only) and has said she isn’t paying it anymore.

i have received legal advice that I shouldn’t pay it because I don’t charge any rent on my half, she has her husband living there and I have to pay extortionate rent on my own property so that I can meet our childrens needs. 

The house is at the start of repossession and there’s been a discussion of her putting it up for sale which I consent to.

when the house is sold and the mortgage paid off there will be around £60-70k of equity. 

Will the £6k+ of arrears be split between us even though she’s lived there rent and mortgage free all this time? 

I feel so angry that she can essentially just eat into my half of the equity.

and before anyone says anything about I should pay the mortgage im
not paying for her and her husband to live there, I already pay maintenance above what is due and I have to rent a house as I can’t buy one because her defaulting has trashed my credit rating! (Meaning I can’t even get a mobile phone on credit)

Thanks in advance. 
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Comments

  • monty-doggy
    monty-doggy Posts: 2,134
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    After all this time why are you still joint tenants? Frankly in your shoes I would look at £3000 as a reasonable price to get a clean break, something that really should have happened 14 years ago.
    Because my 3 children live there and for me to force a sale would effectively make them homeless and I would have had to pay a fortune to force the sale. 
    When we divorced she was living there and I couldn’t see my children homeless. She wasn’t in a position to buy elsewhere and as the interest only was £230 a month she could afford that.
    i was trying to do right by my children. 
  • monty-doggy
    monty-doggy Posts: 2,134
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    Agree, the 3K is well worth it to be well rid of her/them. Such a depressing scenario. 
    I worry it may drag on and on and spiral into even more of a loss for me. Very depressing 

  • _Penny_Dreadful
    _Penny_Dreadful Posts: 967
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    edited 13 February 2023 at 10:18AM
    What does the financial order say with regards to the house? 

    Whether it’s now or further down the line, as I’m assuming there no repayment vehicle in place to repay the capital borrowed for this I/O mortgage when the term ends, the property will be repossessed if she’s not willing to sell. The arrears and equity will be split between you. 

    I agree with @Keep_pedalling about severing the joint tenancy. 
  • If the house is sold you will be entitled to your share of the proceeds of sale (presumably 50%) but those proceeds are what is left after the bank, conveyancers, etc have had their cut. So yes in effect the arrears will be split. 

    This was the risk you took when you entered into this arrangement.  
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,198
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    IS there a financial order ? If so, what does it say? It's fairly common in this kind of situation for the order to say that she is responsible for paying the mortgage and for 'indemnifying' you, which means that if you make any payments, you are entitled to claw them back from her (or from her share of the sale proceeds on sale) 

    If there was no order, and assuming you have not since remarried, you could apply for an order now and ask for an unequal split of the equity to take into account the charges and arrears having built up while she was the sole occupier (out of the two of you) or for you to be reimbursed for any and all payments you make 

    Are she or her husband working? If there was no previous order then a court would have to look at the situation as it is now and determine what is fair, but could take into account the fact that she has had the benefit of living in the property for the pst 14 years and that her husband has also benefitted. 
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,732
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    The dangers of going to court for a split to be determined would be that she would say she needs somewhere to house the children (true), so needs a greater share of the equity. She could also point to the fact that leaving the home by sale or repossession leaves her homeless, whereas you have a home, so she needs more equity in order to get a suitable home.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • The other "danger" of going to court now for a financial order would be that by the time it is resolved the house might well already be repossessed and there will be nothing left to split with anyone. For the sake of £3k I don't see it being worthwhile to be honest. 

    If both parties are in agreement to sell the house and split the proceeds 50/50 then doing that ASAP seems like the best way forward as the arrears are only going to mount up. 

    I ended up taking a mortgage holiday during my divorce process (which conveniently coincided with lockdown so the rules were laxer) and therefore built up some arrears during the process. These were just lumped in with the outstanding mortgage balance and were never brought up as an issue. 
  • monty-doggy
    monty-doggy Posts: 2,134
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    silvercar said:
    The dangers of going to court for a split to be determined would be that she would say she needs somewhere to house the children (true), so needs a greater share of the equity. She could also point to the fact that leaving the home by sale or repossession leaves her homeless, whereas you have a home, so she needs more equity in order to get a suitable home.
    This was my worry however if she had actually paid the mortgage (at one point up until last year it was only £230 a month!) she wouldn’t be in this situation. Regardless of how much equity she gets she can’t buy a property as she has zero credit rating. She will be forced into renting or looking for a council house 

    I have not been able to move on with housing needs. I’m forced to rent as a lodger as I can’t afford full rent because of the maintenance I pay for my children. 14 years of defaults has left my credit rating in a mess too. 
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