Can I force my ex to lower the selling price of our house?

Can my ex be forced to lower the selling price of our house as advised by our estate agent?

Question: I live in a jointly owned mortgage-free house with my ex and three children. The house has been on the market since February but there has been very little interest. The estate agent suggests we reduce the asking price by £10,000 but my ex is refusing because he is quite happy staying there, whereas I want to move on as I am getting married and need the money for a new house. Can he be forced to lower the selling price as advised by our estate agent?

Answer: You have not mentioned whether there is a court order in place requiring you and your ex to sell the property and split the proceeds. You do need to think about all the circumstances though — why, for example, has there been so little interest in the house? Is it your ex-partner who is showing prospective buyers around, or is your estate agent handling the viewings? Could it be that your ex is putting off prospective buyers because he does not want to move? If there is a court order in place, and if you can produce evidence from your estate agent showing that the house is currently overpriced, the court can direct that the sale price be reduced. However, if there is no court order in relation to the sale of the property, then there is no requirement for your ex to agree to reduce the asking price.

You haven't made it clear to me whether you two were married or cohabiting, and the law differs depending on your status. It may well be worth your while to seek legal advice.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor. 


What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (www.withyking.co.uk).

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor. 


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