Why can't I be the sole name on my mortgage?

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty answers your questions
Question: My partner and I split four years ago and since then I have been paying the mortgage with no contribution from her at all. Our flat is still in our joint names, as is the mortgage. I have never missed a mortgage payment but have outstanding balances on three credit cards and a car loan. My earnings have nearly doubled, though, in these four years, through promotions. My ex is getting married in April, says she has no interest in the flat but wants her name taken off the mortgage.

Our lender says I can't take over the whole mortgage because my credit rating is not good enough. The ex says if she cannot come off the mortgage the flat must be sold at once. Is there anything you can suggest?

Answer: Criteria for lending have changed over the past few years and now the requirements of lenders are often difficult for their borrowers to satisfy. It may be worth having another discussion with your lender, but if that is unsuccessful try contacting another lender, a good independent mortgage adviser, or your bank.

Another lender may have less stringent requirements or may be more understanding of your position — and the increase in your earnings should help.

As the mortgage is in joint names you and your expartner are jointly and severally liable for the mortgage. If you were to stop making the monthly mortgage payments your lender would be perfectly entitled to pursue your ex as well as you for payment.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).

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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