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How to remove someone from a mortgage

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: September 6, 2021

Removing someone from a mortgage

There are two elements to this: the mortgage and the legal work.

The legal process

The legal process is actually pretty straightforward, so long as all parties agree on what’s to happen. As with any mortgage application, the solicitors (conveyancers) will be involved to set up the legal charge with the lender, and those named party on the ownership set up on the Land Registry etc.

What you have to do: Not much, actually. As part of the mortgage application, you would simply let the mortgage advisor and solicitor know it’s a transfer of equity and the solicitors will send out the necessary title transfer documents with their normal remortgage pack for you to complete. There is usually an extra charge for this of a few hundred pounds, but you don’t usually need a different solicitor to the mortgage conveyancer (unless you want one), as they can do it all for you.

If all parties agree, it can take as little as a day to get approved and a full application in, if you have your documents ready.

If the person you want off the mortgage doesn’t agree, then really your options are a legal challenge, which can of course be costly for all, so is best avoided! Often this results in the property being sold, but at some point, one or both of you needs to compromise.

The mortgage process

The mortgage can also be surprisingly simple to sort. First you would review your current mortgage and determine whether it’s sensible to look to other lenders or stay with your current deal. If you are not tied in to a current deal, or if the repayment penalties make it worthwhile, then you should consider switching to another lender regardless – it could be far cheaper if you get a better rate elsewhere.

The process is much like a remortgage for a better deal, and involves a new application (even if you’re keeping the same mortgage), as the lender needs to assess that whoever remains on the mortgage is both creditworthy and can afford it on their own. The lender will need to know your current situation, current income and current credit history to ensure they’re lending responsibly.

They will credit score you, and usually ask for bank statements and payslips / self-employed proof of income (tax calcs, accounts etc.), and may even send someone out to re-value the property (new lenders are more likely to do this).

The process of applying with a different lender is not really any different than staying where you are, other than it can take slightly longer if they need to value the property.

If you’re approved, then happy days; the solicitors will send you the paperwork, and when all the docs are in and signed by you and the other parties being removed, they’ll let the lender know to complete. It can go through in a month if all is straightforward.

If you are declined by your current lender (usually this is due to credit score or affordability, i.e. your income is not deemed acceptable or enough to pay the mortgage on your own), then don’t panic; there may be other lenders who are happy to offer you the mortgage – remember all lenders are different and some are much more generous than others (lending up to and over 5x income in certain circumstances). You’ll have the best chance getting advice from a mortgage expert, who knows the market and specialist areas to help (make an enquiry and we’ll get you to one!).

Whether it’s through divorce, death or a change in your personal circumstances, when it comes to removing a name from a joint mortgage in the UK, you’ll need to complete a transfer deed.

It is possible to remove a name from a joint mortgage and add a new wife, husband or partner to the mortgage as part of the same Transfer of Equity, if someone else is joining the mortgage, of course.

Important

If you are buying someone out, and need to raise more money this is a great opportunity to find a new deal, and maybe even reduce your monthly mortgage payments making it more manageable to afford on your own.

I want to remove somebody from the mortgage without buying out

The main thing to remember is that you can remove someone from your mortgage without buying them out (so long as they agree!), and the lender approves it. It really depends on the setup of the ownership – most property is owned jointly as “joint tenants” in industry jargon, meaning you both own it all, so essentially any equity in the property would be shared equally (or however you agree if different to this).

Some are setup as “tenants in common”, where you would have already agreed who owns what percentage of any equity (you’d probably know if you’d done this, but it’s worth checking with the solicitor who set it up). Either way, if you have agreed to it, it can be done relatively easily.

The process is a simple “transfer of equity”, and the solicitor you use will just send paperwork out to you both to sign – it takes about a month, maybe more depending on the lender you use. You will need to reapply for the mortgage in your own name (or with someone else if adding someone else, too), so the lender can check it’s affordable and they’re happy with you as sole owner.

Important

If you decide to sell the property, one of you could still port the mortgage to a new property, which would keep the same deal with the same lender and avoid any repayment penalties.

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How can I get my name taken off a joint mortgage in the UK?

There are a number of ways of getting out of a joint mortgage:

  • Ask your partner to buy you out
  • Sell the property and split the proceeds (if any)
  • Ask your partner if they would agree to taking over the joint mortgage
  • If your partner agrees, you can sell your share to a third party
  • Contact your lender and ask if they will remove you from the mortgage (your partner would need to demonstrate that they could service the loan)

As you can see from the list above, there are loads of reasons why you might want to come off a mortgage, often due to a separation, investor partners going it alone, or someone wanting to be removed as a guarantor. Whatever the reason, mortgage removal is one of the most common equity transfers we come across, and something the mortgage experts we work with handle every day

What you need to do: The process starts with the agreement of whoever you are leaving on the mortgage, and ultimately requires that person(s) to make the application to the lender in their own name. Rather than actually requesting removal, the remaining person requests to stay on their own without you.

We point this out because, really, you can waste a lot of time making enquiries without having any say on the matter. You first need to hand the mantle over to them, and if you want it done quickly, help them get everything ready (and make sure they enquire with us!).

Important

You can enquire on somebody else’s behalf if they agree; just make sure you add them to the enquiry as the expert will need to speak to them directly. If you’re also looking to get another mortgage as part of this transaction, then we can help with that too! Either way.

To sort the mortgage: They can either approach the current lender or find a new one. The latter is always recommended to compare the best deals against your current one, factoring in any repayment penalties (and of course the brokers we work with can sort it all for you!).

The lenders will assess the remaining applicant(s) for credit score/history, income and affordability – this is true of the current lender as well as any new lenders, as it is treated as a completely new application. They will also want to ensure the property has enough equity, as things can be trickier in negative equity since the lender loses some security in removing a party.

If they are approved, then it’s up to the solicitors to sort the paperwork. If declined, then they’ll need to find out why (it’s usually credit score or affordability), and approach another lender who specialises in that field – hence why we ALWAYS recommend speaking to a mortgage broker as they have seen it all, and get approvals where others are declined, everyday.

Then there is the legal work, which is actually pretty straightforward. Whoever you’re leaving on the mortgage just needs to let the solicitor know you are being removed, and they can send out additional paperwork to cover the “transfer of equity”. You’ll get something to sign as part of this to confirm you’re happy with the numbers, and when all is sorted the solicitors let the lender know to complete the application.

Solicitors will also take any money due to you either from the lender (if they are raising money) or from them, and pay it to you, if you are being bought out.

A couple of other considerations:

There might be Capital Gains tax implications. If the property isn’t your main residence, you might need to pay capital gains if it has increased in value. Check with the solicitor or an accountant.

Property investors who have signed a personal guarantee may want to confirm with the lender they are departing from that their obligations are voided after the transaction. You might be surprised to know that this is not always the case – some personal guarantees survive removal of interest from the property and mortgage, so you could leave yourself with a liability and none of the security!

How to remove an ex from the mortgage without refinancing

You don’t need to remortgage to remove an ex from the mortgage as it is possible to do a Transfer of Equity on your existing product and many lenders also allow capital raising on an equity transfer.

As part of the process of transferring a mortgage into a sole name, a lender will carry out affordability and credit checks and there will be administration and legal fees to pay. For this reason, many people use buying out a mortgage from a partner as an opportunity to review their mortgage and often choose to refinance, particularly if there are Early Repayment Charges payable on their current deal.

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I’m in a joint mortgage and the other party isn’t paying their way

If you’ve been left in the lurch paying a joint mortgage, or you’re worried you’ll be left to pay it on your own, you’re not alone – this is a really common scenario and something the mortgage experts we work with handle everyday, so don’t panic!

Most importantly, it’s usually recommended you do everything you can to make sure the mortgage is being paid!

Whether you’ve “paid your half” or not is irrelevant in the eyes of the lender and the credit agreement you have signed into – each person on a joint mortgage is wholly responsible for the full payment, and any part or missed payments would show up on both of your credit files, regardless of where the blame lies.

Missed payments on a mortgage are one of the biggest issues for any new lenders, and it will make your next application harder, and most likely more expensive. Not impossible, of course, as there are lenders that can consider late or missed mortgage payments from the last 12 months, and one or two can even consider someone currently behind (with good reason) – make an enquiry if this is you, and we’ll get you to the right mortgage broker.

Note

What you can do: You may want to appeal to the lender directly, and ask them for an organised and temporary payment holiday or perhaps a switch to interest only, given the circumstances, which will buy you time to get things sorted and shouldn’t negatively impact your credit report (depending on the lender – please check this first!).

You really then have three options…

  • Sell and move
  • Buy each other out
  • Convince / help the other person to fulfill their mortgage obligations

If you want to buy them out, then you’ll need to be able to afford the mortgage on your own. Typical lending limits are around 5x your annual pre-tax salary (so if you earn £50k, the maximum mortgage you could get would be £250k). Make sure you speak to an expert about this, as just going to your current lender limits your options, and if you’re declined, it can harm your overall chances of securing the outcome you want. Enquire and we’ll get you to the right mortgage broker.

If you can’t buy them out, just get this verified by one of the specialist brokers we work with, please! Your lender might have said no, and a broker may have struggled, but not all brokers are created equal, and some have the experience, knowledge and market access to get approvals where others can’t. If then it’s a no, really the option is to keep paying the mortgage until you sell the property, or ultimately you face repossession and a big scar on both of your credit files for years to come.

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Mortgage buyouts

Buying someone out is a lot simpler than it might sound / feel (if you use the right advisor) and more importantly, is something we help hundreds of customers with every year. The main considerations are getting the mortgage approved, and the legal agreement.

The legals are handled by your conveyancer (solicitor) who just sends you and the person you’re buying out some extra forms to sign when they sort the mortgage. It’s nothing to worry about at all and all perfectly normal and straightforward when you see them!

The mortgage can be more tricky. You’ll need evidence that…

  1. You can afford the mortgage on your own based on your income
  2. You can afford the extra borrowing;
  3. There is enough equity in the property to take that additional money
  4. You have the appropriate credit score / history

Your mortgage advisor will answer all of these questions for you.

It’s possible to complete a buyout with the same lender you have now, but this limits your options and the rate you’ll pay. Even if you’re tied in with early repayment penalties, it’s best to have a look at the whole market and compare all deals to get the best one, and moreover, the best one that you qualify for. Often we see customers borrow more, and because they are getting a better rate, it doesn’t cost any extra per month, so don’t be surprised if this happens!

Important

Using your current lender will often mean you will have to take funds on a new deal, different rates, and end product dates – this can be a bit awkward in future if your current mortgage expires in say 12 months and the new bit in 2-3 years, as you’ll always have a part of the mortgage tied in, and some going onto the (often more expensive) standard rate.

What you need to do: Just let your mortgage advisor know you’re buying someone out, and they will handle the rest, including calculating exactly what you can borrow, getting this actually approved, and making sure you get you the right solicitor. The solicitors then handle the paperwork, and when it all goes through will release funds from the lender to whoever you buy out.

Note

The process can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, if all parties agree and are ready to go.

If you are declined for whatever reason, there’s a whole range of other lenders that may consider you. Remember you can of course, add someone else to the mortgage at this point, to help with affordability or just because you are swapping owners.

If you’ve not yet agreed the value, and thus the price you’re paying, you can work on that whilst your advisor calculates what you can afford. Valuing the property can be tough, but usually you are not far wrong looking at comparables online (sales of similar property in the area). If you can’t agree, you can instruct an estate agent or indeed a surveyor, to come and value it for you.

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I want to transfer my mortgage to a family member

The good news is that transferring a mortgage from one person to another is usually possible and, with the help of a professional mortgage advisor, the process can be straightforward, which means you can also transfer a mortgage to a friend or family member in the UK.

This can be done through a Transfer of Equity without remortgaging, but the new person who is joining the mortgage will need to satisfy the lender’s affordability and eligibility assessments.

Transferring a mortgage to a friend or family member is often done for purposes such as inheritance tax planning. Under those circumstances, it’s important to speak to a tax advisor before anything is agreed. It’s also possible to gift a property to a relative, even if there’s still a mortgage in place on it. The outstanding mortgage balance would, however, need to be paid off as part of the transaction or before the property changes hands.

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Adding someone to a mortgage

It is possible to add your partner, husband or wife to your mortgage and it can be a sensible move, especially when children are involved, but be aware that the person you want to add to your mortgage will be subject to the usual income and credit checks and may even have to pay stamp duty.

Generally speaking, your main options would be twofold if you need to add someone to your mortgage. You could either add them to your existing agreement through a Transfer of Equity, or refinance your mortgage and switch to a new joint agreement.

To qualify for a Transfer of Equity, the new person who’s joining the mortgage will need to undergo affordability and eligibility assessments with your lender. They will become a legal owner of a portion of the property, and your lender will need to know they’re creditworthy.

The process will be similar for a remortgage and you could refinance with your current lender or search the market for a better deal from another provider. The main benefit of remortgaging is exactly that: you could find a new mortgage with a more favourable interest rate, but you will need to consider whether your current deal has an early repayment fee.

Working out the overall cost and how much you could potentially save in the long run is the key here. There’s little point in refinancing to a product with a slightly lower interest rate if you have to pay through the nose in fees and charges and end up out of pocket overall.

The right mortgage broker can help you out here as they can weigh up all of the pros and cons of each option and help you make the most cost-effective choice.

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Article key takeaways

  • 01

    It can be done

    A transfer of equity is one of the most common queries mortgage brokers deal with on a day-to-day basis. Some cases are easy and simple, where others are more complicated, but with so many ways to navigate a transfer of equity, there's likely to be one right for you.
  • 02

    A broker can help you get it done right

    The right mortgage broker can help you make an informed decision about the best way to add or remove someone from your mortgage.
  • 03

    Understand your eligibility

    If you’re removing someone from your mortgage or planning to switch from a solo agreement to a joint one, affordability and eligibility checks will be carried out. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to understand how lenders assess affordability and credit reports.
  • 04

    Find the right mortgage lender

    Whether a Transfer or Equity or a remortgage is the best option for you, choosing the right mortgage lender is absolutely vital. The best way to find out whether sticking with your current lender is in your best interest is to speak to a mortgage broker.

Ready for a free, no-obligation chat with a mortgage expert about your options? Our broker-matching service will pair you up with the best expert for your needs and circumstances.

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FAQs

Can I add someone with bad credit to my mortgage?

Yes, as long as their bad credit isn’t severe enough to prevent them from meeting your mortgage lender’s eligibility criteria. If you’re remortgaging to a new agreement with a person who has bad credit, keep in mind that this could affect the overall strength of your application, and this could mean higher rates or needing to put down more deposit.

If you’re adding somebody with bad credit to your mortgage, seeking advice from a mortgage broker is recommended. They will be able to introduce you to specialist bad credit mortgage providers who have the flexibility to base their lending decisions on the age, severity and reason for the borrower’s credit problems

Can I add someone who’s self-employed to my mortgage?

Yes, and the only difference this will make from an affordability standpoint is the way their income is assessed. The mortgage lender will base the amount they can borrow on the accounts they provide to evidence their income, and some are more generous with their calculations than others. You can find out more in our guide to self-employed mortgages.

Can I join someone else’s mortgage if I have a criminal conviction?

If you have previous convictions that are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you do not have to disclose these convictions and can apply to join the mortgage through the normal process. You may need to declare convictions that are unspent.

But the good news is that it’s still possible to get a mortgage with a criminal record, under the right circumstances. Your best bet is to speak with a specialist advisor who will be able to talk through the options available to you.

Will stamp duty be payable if I’m transferring someone to or from my mortgage?

Possibly. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is payable on the transfer of ownership of land or property. So, if you’re transferring a mortgage to a partner or family member or removing someone from the title deeds, you may have to pay stamp duty, depending on type of transfer, your marital status and other factors.

I’m paying a joint mortgage on my own. What can I do?

A joint mortgage obviously isn’t designed to be paid by one person from an affordability perspective, but this is a less-than-ideal situation that some homeowners find themselves in after a separation. It might be the case that your ex has stopped paying their share of the mortgage despite still being named on the title deeds.

In this scenario, it’s recommended that you seek legal advice to find out what your options are, and also speak to a mortgage broker to explore whether a remortgage, Transfer or Equity or another solution could help you resolve this issue.

Can I remove a borrower and add a new person to my mortgage at the same time?

Yes, this can be done through the Transfer of Equity process either with or without a full remortgage. A Transfer of Equity can involve three parties, but it’s recommended that all of the people involved seek professional advice beforehand so they’re fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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