Can a joint mortgage be transferred to one person?

illustration of Can a joint mortgage be transferred to one person?

A joint mortgage can be transferred to one name if both people named on the joint mortgage agree. 

In this guide you’ll find:

What happens to a joint mortgage after a separation?

If you are separating or divorcing the person you have a joint  mortgage with, there are a few different options of what to do.

One option is to sell the home. That means you would no longer have any financial ties to each other. But it means both of you will need to find somewhere else to live.

If both of you want to leave the house, but don’t want to give up ownership, then you could explore the option of renting it out. If you do this, either one or both of you can still own the home. If both of you want to still own the home, you’ll have to split the rent two ways, and you’ll still be on a joint mortgage with financial ties to each other. If just one of you wants to rent the property out, they’ll have to buy out the other from the mortgage. 

One of the most common choices is to have one partner buy the other out and transfer the joint mortgage to one person.

Use this guide to see your options for buying out your ex-partner: How can you buy a partner out after separation?

How to transfer a mortgage

If you both decide you want the mortgage to be transferred to one person, you do this through a legal process known as a ‘transfer of equity’. 

A transfer of equity is when you transfer a joint mortgage to one of the owners, or to a new person. The ‘Equity’ you have in a property just means how much of the property you legally own. It’s the amount you’ve paid in through your mortgage repayments. 

Your marital status doesn’t affect your ability to transfer a mortgage to one person. Whether you’re married, divorced or cohabiting, lenders treat your situation the same. Anyone who is named on a mortgage is responsible for paying it off, regardless of whether they remain married or not.

When you transfer a mortgage to one person, you can either stick with your current lender, or consider looking around for a new lender. 

It’s important to speak to your current lender as soon as you can. Lenders have different criteria when it comes to transferring the mortgage ownership to one person. They’ll want to know the person can afford to pay the full monthly mortgage payments. It’s good to know what you’ll have to do up front before you commit to it. If you’re not happy with what your current lender is asking, you can consider remortgaging with a new lender. 

The process of transferring a mortgage to one person usually involves an interview and consultation with a solicitor, and you might have to have your property revalued. There’s likely to be admin and legal fees, and possibly stamp duty if you’re making a substantial payment to the other joint owner.

If you decide that you’d like to buy out your partner but don’t want to live in the house anymore, then you have the option of keeping ownership of the property and renting it out. Or you could remortgage the property and use the equity to help buy a new home.

Replacing someone on your mortgage with someone else

If you want to remove someone from your mortgage and replace them with someone else – a family member, friend or a new partner – you can do this with a transfer of equity. A transfer of equity is when you transfer a joint mortgage to one of the owners, or to a new person. 

Transferring half the mortgage to a new name is very helpful for continuing to be able to afford the mortgage repayments. However, lenders will check anyone you want to add to your mortgage. Lenders will do affordability and credit checks on the new person because they will be jointly responsible for the mortgage with you.

It’s quite common for parents to add their adult children to their mortgages. That’s because it can help with inheritance tax planning. If you’re considering that, always get professional legal advice first to make sure it’s the best option for you. 

If the person that you want to add to the mortgage has a poor credit rating, it could affect how much the lender allows them to borrow. Just like when you take out a mortgage in the first place, lenders will assess the credit issues in terms of how serious they think they are, and how recent they were. Before you start the process of replacing someone with someone else on your mortgage, it’s good to check what kind of credit history they have. That’s because every lender has different criteria for assessing people applying for a mortgage. If your current lender has strict rules, you might want to consider a specialist lender and remortgage.

Can I transfer a mortgage if I’m self-employed?

If you’re self-employed, work freelance or as a contractor, then you might worry about transferring your joint mortgage to a solo one, as it’s trickier to prove that you can afford to take on the payments when you don’t have a regular monthly income.

Lenders will usually want to see at least twelve months worth of regular income, which may be trickier if you’re self-employed. But you can use other ways to show evidence of your earnings, such as perhaps company dividends or accounts. The best thing to do if you’re self-employed and want to transfer your mortgage to a solo one is speak to a specialist mortgage broker. They can advise you on what your options are and will have access to specialist lenders.

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