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Can I Sell My House Without My Spouse’s Signature?

If you’re married or are currently going through divorce, it’s possible you want to sell the house that you own jointly with your spouse. But what if they don’t give consent for the sale? If you’re in such a situation you’re probably asking, ‘can I sell my house without my spouse’s signature?

Well, we already envisaged the possibility of such a situation and have put together this guide covering everything you need to know about selling your house without your partner’s consent.

What consent do I need from my spouse to sell my house?

Truthfully, getting consent before selling property you jointly own with your spouse can be messy. Yet, you can’t avoid it.

If you’re going through a separation or divorce, your home may be the largest asset you’ve both contributed to but must sell it if only to move on. However, your spouse may not hold the same thought. That’s why we get this question regularly, ‘can I sell my house without my spouse’s consent?’.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as simple as you’d want it to be. So, follow through this article as we give you expert insight into the permissions on when it’s possible to sell your home or not.

Begin by defining home ownership of your property

If you’re a sole owner of your property, you’ll have more flexibility to proceed with the sale in whichever way you desire. You can either remortgage it, sell, rent it out or think of any other approach you can take.

Unfortunately, you won’t enjoy such flexibilities as a property you jointly own with your spouse. As such, you may end up struggling to sell your property if you can’t get consent from your partner and try to find a buyer.

It’s crucial that you legally define ownership of your home before trying to sell the home. You can check if you’re jointly registered as property owners with the HM Land Registry that registers home ownership in Wales and England. This gives you clarity on ownership that is recognisable even in litigation. You can also look for any correspondence or documentation that clearly states any agreement you have with your spouse on home ownership.

Wondering why this is important? Well, sometimes, you might disagree with your partner on the actual state of ownership. If your spouse if reluctant to consent to the sale of your home or is claiming ownership, they can prove their position by producing relevant documentation by showing proof of payments they made towards home improvements like extension or renovation or even monthly payment of mortgages. This may earn them a share of the proceeds from the sale. If your ownership situation is complex, then make sure you seek professional legal help.

So then, can you sell your house without the consent of your spouse?

There are situations where you can force the sale of a property thus bypassing consent from your spouse. For instance, you can sell a property without consent if you don’t own it jointly. This includes in civil partnerships. If it’s only your name that appears on the title deeds or official copies, then as a sole owner you don’t require any consent to proceed with the sale of your property. This means, you can rent out, sell or even re-house repayments for the property. I mean, you can do pretty much anything you want without needing the permission from your spouse.

Is joint ownership on title deeds or house repayments?

The concept of joint ownership can sometimes be confusing. So, it’s good to clearly state the difference between your name appearing on house repayment documents and title deeds. You see, if your house appears in house repayments, it only means that you have the duty of making payments. However, this doesn’t make you a joint owner. You must know the difference and your actual position before acting. If your house is on the repayments but not the title deeds, you can sell your property without their consent.

What options does your spouse have if you’re looking to sell your house?

Surprise! If you’re looking to sell your property that you don’t jointly own with your spouse, they may still block you from selling. Your spouse can apply for home rights. This grants them permission, allowing them to stay on the property. This means you can’t sell the property for this duration.

Should your spouse make this application, the Land Registry will contact you, letting you know about it and providing insight into what the application means for you. When this happens, you’ll do well to seek legal advice so that you redeem your right to sell the property.

Where your spouse has made contributions towards home improvements, construction work or house repayments for the property, they can apply an occupation order so that they continue living on the property. If granted, this means you can’t legally sell the property. To do this, they must work with a solicitor, and it could go to court. This can be quite a costly undertaking for both parties. Here, the court will acknowledge that both parties have an interest in the property and are entitled to share the value when sold. This is a complex area hence will vary depending on different circumstances and contributions. Therefore, should it get to this point, seek legal advice.

What should your spouse do if you’re looking to sell?

Well, you might have given it a guess already. As you can see, this is quite complex. Each case will vary because circumstances will vary and will contributions. The best move is to seek legal advice.

Can you force a sale for a property you own jointly?

You can’t sell a property you own jointly with your spouse without their permission. There’s no way around it. However, you have a few options on what you can do:

  • You can agree to sell the property jointly, which means agreeing on the sale price and the percentage you each will receive from the proceeds.
  • The other option would be offering to buy part your partner’s share of the property. You’ll need to get an independent valuation so ensure you get a fair price.
  • In case your spouse doesn’t cooperate, you’ll need to initiate action of division and sale through a court process.

If possible, you’re better off settling things out of court. This is not only because it’s costly but because ultimately, the outcome is out of your hands. As such, it’s unlikely that you’ll both get a favourable outcome.

What options for selling your house do you have if you can sell without your partner’s consent?

If you’ve assessed your position and you’re certain you can sell your house without your partner’s consent, the next thing is to decide the best method of selling the property. Generally, you’ll have three options; selling to a reputable home buying company like Springbok Properties, sell through and estate agent or sell through a property auctioneer. Let’s look at each of these options:

  •  Selling to a reputable home buying company

Property buying companies like Springbok Properties can be your best bet when you want to sell your house fast. In fact, this is often the swiftest option for couples going through a divorce. These companies guarantee you a stress- and hassle-free process within a short duration. With quick house sale companies, you can sell your house within 30 days. This includes the exchange of contracts. Selling your house through a property buying company is faster than it would take selling your house on the property market.

What’s more?

You don’t have to worry about paying any fees because we’ll take care of it. The beauty of selling your property to quick house sale companies is that you don’t have to worry about renovating it because they’ll buy it just as it is. So, even if the house you own has negative characteristics you can still sell it.

Once you get in touch with us and provide all the requisite information, we initiate the process by arranging for a valuation before making you an offer. You don’t have to accept the offer immediately, as we give you ample time to consider it. It is only when you accept that we take care of the paperwork before completing the sale.

 

  • Selling through an estate agent

 

If you’re not pressed on time, you may want to consider selling your house through an estate agent. When you contact an estate agent, keep in mind that they may give you an inflated price at first even though they know too well the value of your house will be lower. All they want to do is impress you and win your business. Remember, they are paid a commission for each house they sell.

But it doesn’t always have to be this way. You can prevent this by getting quotes from at least three estate agents for comparison. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of the true value of your home. When selling through an estate agent, they will put together the listing providing all information that buyers need to know about the property. This includes descriptions of features of interest along with photographs. Your estate agent will also be responsible for viewings by prospective buyers. Viewings can consume a lot of time so having an estate agent step in can be a huge relief. Once you get an offer on your property, your estate agent will charge you a commission for their role in finding a buyer.

  •  Selling through a property auctioneer

If you decide to take this route, the auctioneer will develop a listing for your property including any statistics and history and use it to advertise before the auction. This is an important step in generating interest in the property. You may have to wait several weeks between the date you enter the property for sale at the auction and the actual date of the auction. The auctioneer will work closely with you to determine the minimum opening reserve for your property. This is simply the lowest value you’re comfortable selling your home for.

However, it’ll be set below the amount you want to sell just so you can entice people to bid. In an attempt to outbid each other, sellers will push the final price much higher. Even then, there’s no guarantee this will happen so you might as well be prepared to settle on the opening bid. There may be some delays in this whole process because of the paperwork. So, it may not be the fastest way to sell your house. Moreover, you’ll have to pay auctioneers fees for selling your home.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs (Selling your home without the consent of your partner)

 

  • Will lack of your partner’s consent make it impossible to sell a home?

 

No. In difficult separations and divorces, one partner may want to sell while the other may want to keep the property. In such a case, you must resolve or get their consent before selling. If only one partner owns the property, then you can sell without consent.

 

  • How different is joint ownership of a home from sole ownership?

 

In joint ownership, both partners have an equal stake in the ownership of the property. This means they both must consent to selling. However, in sole ownership, only one partner owns the home hence they can sell without a partner’s consent.

 

  •  Can you force the sale of a house with joint ownership?

 

Where you own property jointly, one partner can’t force the sale of a property. But there could be options for selling it. For instance, one partner can buy the other partner’s share or simply agree on selling. Otherwise, you may resort to legal advice to force a sale.

 

  • What are my legal rights if I want to force a sale for a jointly owned property?

 

If you jointly own a house with your partner but they refuse to give consent to sell, you have the option of seeking litigation so as to force an order mandating a sale. The challenge with this is that it can be a lengthy and expensive process. As such, even if you win the order to force the sale, you may still lose money eventually.

If you jointly own a house with your partner but they refuse to give consent to sell, you have the option of seeking litigation to force an order mandating a sale. The challenge with this is that it can be a lengthy and expensive process. As such, even if you win the order to force the sale, you may still lose money eventually.