Q: I purchased a home 8 years ago with a friend. We both put equal money down on this property.
After a few years, my friend lost her job and I had to refinance the loan under my own credit. To make matters worse, I had to take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to continue to make the mortgage payments.
My friend is on the title and she refuses to pay half of the house payments and HELOC payments.
Do I have any recourse as to getting this person off the title to the home? She has refused to issue a quit claim deed to me for her share of the property.
A: Unfortunately, your mistake was to refinance the house into your own name but leave your friend on the title as an owner. She has full ownership rights but no financial responsibility to pay off the mortgage. You can’t force her to pay the mortgage because she doesn’t have any legal responsibility to pay it.
She has refused the suggestion that she deed her share of the house over to you, and truthfully, why should she? She’s got the best deal going.
So you’re in a pickle. What you should do is sell the property, and use the proceeds to pay off the loans. Then, you’ll have to split whatever cash is left with your friend.
While it may not be the best time to sell the property, you’re better off selling than being held hostage by your friend – with whom, by the way, you have no real friendship.
You might also want to talk to an attorney who has experience in partitioning real estate – meaning suing co-owners to force the sale of the home. The attorney may have some additional ideas and may be able to force your co-owner to sell out to you.
Oct. 14, 2006.