How can I get rid of my house?
September 26, 2005 4:25 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to get rid of my house?

I have a home that I purchased with someone last year. Since that time, the relationship has gone way south. The house deed is in both of our names, but the mortgage is only in my name.

He is not paying any bills, no mortgage payments, and insists on living here for free, and I basically have no way to rid of him.

A couple of options came to mind: (1) Stop the mortgage payments, thus allowing the house go to foreclosure, or (2) bankruptcy, and allowing them to take the house.

I don't want the house, i want to sell. He refuses to sell or leave.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Will bankruptcy allow them to take the house? From your description it sounds like you took on a big debt, paid for a house and effectively gave half of it away. The other person will own half the house surely? (If someone else can force a sale when they own half the place why can't you?) Speak to a lawyer about your legal rights as regards getting your half of what you own back, ie by selling, or as to whether there's any chance that you own the whole thing. Might have helped if you'd said where you are located but wherever you are you need a lawyer of your very own.
posted by biffa at 4:37 AM on September 26, 2005

You don't say where you are but assuming you are in the US, you need a partition lawsuit. This forces the sale of the house, whether the other party wants it or not. You must see a lawyer for this (check with your local board of realtors for a good real estate lawywer). Foreclosure or bankruptcy will mess up your credit for a long time.
posted by TheRaven at 5:01 AM on September 26, 2005

I suspect (but by no means am in a position to say this is correct) that you could get a lawyer to draft a quitclaim deed (where the guy says he no longer has any claim on the house) for him to sign or face a lawsuit with the aim of making him have to pay half of the mortgage payments and bills (or alternately, allow him to buy you out). As you can see from the answers so far, a lawyer is almost certainly in your future. Why not call around for a few free consultations (to size up a few lawyers and your situation) while you ask your friends who they recommend? Good luck!
posted by kimota at 5:22 AM on September 26, 2005

A friend of mine is separated from her husband, and her lawyer told her that her husband can force the sale of their (Toronto) house tomorrow if he wants to. You are sure to be able to. Get a lawyer and get the wheels in motion.
posted by orange swan at 6:33 AM on September 26, 2005

Do not stop payments or file for Raven, said, these will mess up your credit for 7-10 years. In case you've never had bad credit, this is a verybad thing. Do NOT do it.
posted by poppo at 6:56 AM on September 26, 2005

I was in a similar situation once. In my case, the threat of a sale of partition (which doesn't require the consent of both parties) was enough to get the other party to sign a quit claim deed. With the quit claim in hand, you can do pretty much whatever you want.

In my (not at all legal advice) opinion, I'd go with a sale of partition. This is a court-supervised sale in which many aspects of the sale can be governed by a court, which will save hassles. Any proceeds from the sale above and beyond the cost of paying off the house must be split equally between the two of you, but it's a lot easier than dealing with someone who is making youor home an armed camp.

And I will echo the others: don't stop payment, don't file for bankruptcy, and get a lawyer. You'll need one.
posted by staresbynight at 8:09 AM on September 26, 2005

You need the right lawyer to handle this -- one with plenty of experience dealing with unmarried partners, because the issues are COMPLETELY different than for married partners.

A good place to start might be the lawyer ads in your local gay newspaper -- gay and lesbian couples have buying houses together, and acrimoniously litigating over them when they break up, for a long enough time for their lawyers to have developed a fairly sophisticated body of practice and procedure. Carefully check references on whatever lawyers seem interested in your case.
posted by MattD at 8:57 AM on September 26, 2005

Any real estate lawyer will be able to help you with this. There's enough unmarried people living together these days that they will have dealt with this many times before.

Your larger problem is going to be dealing with trying to make a sale with a semi-hostile tenant.
posted by phearlez at 10:58 AM on September 26, 2005

You definitely want a lawyer. I disagree that you need a really good one. Chances are he'll roll over and die the first time he hears the words 'lawyer' or 'lawsuit'. He can't really belive he's going to get a free half of a house. A stern talking to from your counsel will probably make him give up his claim on the house.

If he doesn't leave after that, then get an expensive lawyer.
posted by delmoi at 11:00 AM on September 26, 2005

Check out the equivalent of the Michigan Poverty Law Program in your state. There's a nationwide network of them, though they have different names in different places (usually with Poverty and Law in them but not always).
I just did work for them editing advice on how to deal with this part of housing law in Michigan, and it's a big part of what they deal with in all states (but each state has different laws).
So, in part, this is just more "get a lawyer" advice, but at least it's recommending a path of lawyers.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on September 26, 2005

Pretty much any lawyer who's passed the bar exam ought to be able to handle this for you. A partition action is the big threat, which you can use to negotiate your optimal terms.

By the way... never buy a house, or a car, or anything else of value with someone unless you're married, or you consult a lawyer first.

Especially never do what happened here - you're on the hook for the loan, but he's on the deed! If he's not paying, and you're not married, you shouldn't put him on the deed.
posted by mikewas at 1:11 PM on October 14, 2005

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