How do I remove my ex-partner from the property deeds?
If you are getting divorced, dissolving a civil partnership or legally separating, and you and your partner own property together, you may need a conveyancing solicitor to carry out a ‘transfer of equity’.
When might this be necessary?
Homeowners who decide to add the name of their spouse to their property deed when they get married may want to reverse this if they get divorced or separate, subject to the terms of any divorce settlement or separation agreement.
In the case of non-married couples and other cohabitees who buy a house together in joint names, one party may want to stay in the property and buy the other person out. In any of these cases, it will be necessary to remove one of the names from the title deeds.
The other common scenario in which someone's name needs to be removed from a property deed is upon their death, in order to complete the probate procedure and finalise any resulting inheritance. The name of the deceased will be removed from the title deeds and replaced with the relevant beneficiaries or, in the case of a sale of the estate, with the new owner.
What is a transfer of equity?
A 'transfer of equity' is when an existing owner of a property (or land) adds or removes one or more other people to the title (ownership) of the property.
If you are separating from your partner, one partner may decide to transfer their interest in the property to the other partner.
This is a legal process where the outgoing partner (the 'transferor') will need to be removed from the property deeds (title), leaving the remaining partner (the 'transferee') as the sole owner.
Do I have to ‘buy my ex out'?
A transfer of equity is often thought of as buying someone out, paying an ex-partner money for their share in a property.
Transferring equity does not necessarily mean that any money changes hands. Separating couples can choose what they want to exchange equity for.
Equity can also be exchanged for assets, such as vehicles or household items. An ex-partner may even agree to be taken off the deeds for no payment at all.
You should go ahead and consult with your conveyancing solicitor if an asset swap is being proposed.
How do I remove someone from the property deeds?
When transferring equity you need to:
- Review the property’s title documents.
- Prepare transfer deed and other legal documents.
- Obtain the appropriate consent from the mortgage lender, landlords etc.
- Register the Deed of Transfer through us.
- Complete the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return form. (even if there is no SDLT payable).
Do I need to notify my mortgage lender?
If you decide to buy out your partner and there is an outstanding mortgage, you will need your mortgage lender's consent. The lender will need to be satisfied that you will be able to afford the mortgage as the sole mortgagor.
The mortgage lender will then need to give you written consent in order to remove the other party from the deeds to your house. The lender will require the change in ownership to be carried out by a solicitor
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
If you receive a property (or share in a property) as part of a court order or agreement because you are divorcing, dissolving a civil partnership, legally separating or annulling a marriage, there is usually no SDLT to pay.
What if I am not married or in a civil partnership?
Your options for removing a joint-owner (other than your spouse or civil partner) from a jointly-owned property, the process is broadly similar to for removing a partner.
If you are transferring equity when separating from a partner and you are not married or in a civil partnership, SDLT is payable on the 'chargeable consideration'.
The chargeable consideration is the amount of debt transferred or taken on (the mortgage) plus the amount being paid for the equity.
If you don’t want to use a conveyancing solicitor, at Online Land Registry we provide all the services that you need regarding your changes to the property, we will help you get the right documentation and guide you step-by-step.
What if the property is mortgaged?
If a property in England, Wales or Scotland, comes with a mortgage attached, it will normally be necessary to gain permission from the mortgage lender to remove the name of one of the owners - and to essentially transfer the mortgage to the remaining owner(s). In this case, the mortgage company will assess the financial ability of the remaining owner(s) to make repayments etc.
Please call us at 03338801108 for a free consultation.
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