HomeLifestyleI pay the mortgage but my ex wants me and our sons kicked out – will we lose our family home? – The Sun
I pay the mortgage but my ex wants me and our sons kicked out – will we lose our family home? – The Sun
EVERY Saturday, The Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Jane Hamilton will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, Maddy Tooke rounds up the best coupons to save you money and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
The Sun's legal expert
Q) MY husband left our family home in 2012. I was left with three children and the mortgage to pay. We had a 70/30 split from the courts in my favour.
I recently started a new relationship with an old school friend who has moved in with me and the three boys, two of whom are under 18.
My youngest son has severe autism and leukaemia and my new partner is now his primary carer as I myself am on long-term sick.
I have now received a letter from my ex husband’s solicitor saying that because I have been cohabiting, this has triggered the house sale – due to one of the clauses in the divorce settlement!
Can this content order be overturned as my two youngest are under 18 and my partner and I are claiming universal credit so have no money to buy him out?
A) It might be possible for you to keep your home. You have a number of potentially very strong legal defences against your ex husband forcing the sale of the house, regardless of whether or not you are in a new relationship.
Your youngest son may suffer serious physical and emotional distress as a result of being forced from the property so the initial court order could be varied to reflect this.
I should add that given you pay the mortgage, I’m not particularly impressed with the deal you appear to have struck when you obtained your divorce order in the first place.
You might wish to remind your ex-husband that you reserve the right to vary that order in the event that he persists in forcing this sale.
Whatever happens, you must get specialist legal assistance. This needs serious muscle.
Although legal aid has been withdrawn for many cases like this, your son may have a right to legal representation.
Get to the Citizens Advice Bureau, who can point you in the way of free legal advice.
Q) I AM currently renting a property which my landlord informs me she wishes to sell.
If there was to be a theft or damage to my belongings during a viewing conducted by the estate agent, who would be liable?
A) If your landlord is showing the property to potential buyers who steal things from your home or damage anything while they are there, she is liable.
You cannot be responsible for the people she lets into your rented home.
You may wish to email your insurer who can confirm this.
Q) A COLLEAGUE has made an allegation against me, claiming that I have been using cocaine at work.
This is completely untrue but there is going to be a fact-finding investigation, for which I am getting union representation.
I have done nothing wrong but I know that even if I am cleared in my workplace, mud sticks.
Am I able to sue the colleague who made the allegation for defamation of character?
A) One thing at a time. First, get the fact-finding investigation completed.
Once that is finished you’ll have the energy and peace of mind to determine whether it is worth pursuing this dreadful colleague.
The reality is that defamation law suits are incredibly costly to bring and can often result in making a false allegation stick even harder.
Sometimes it’s just better to move on.
If you still want to pursue this (and I understand why you might), you could bring a claim against this woman for malicious falsehood.
This is not straightforward and you could end up in nasty and costly litigation.
As soon as the disciplinary procedure is done, it might be worth instructing a solicitor to write to this woman making clear that any further allegations would result in serious legal action.
Property expert with the best advice for your home
HOMEOWNERS spend £83billion annually on property improvements – but only 15 per cent of the changes are made to add value.
Each alteration costs an average of £4,806, according to a new study, which means it is worth considering if your change is a good investment.
Russell Galley, managing director at the Halifax Bank, said: “Social media is giving more people instant access to the latest home and interior trends, so it’s no surprise to find this influence filtering through to home improvements.
“But while upgrading homes is simply a labour of love for many, others invest in renovation to increase value and maximise selling potential.”
Here, the bank reveals the most profitable home upgrades.
Loft conversion: Adding a room or two in the attic typically costs £22,200 but can net you a roomy £11,020 profit.
Living roof: Loved on Instagram, the millennial phenomenon of adding vegetation or plants to the flat roof of a property rakes in an average of £8,676.
Bi-folding doors: Whether you add to a kitchen, living room or downstairs bedroom, flooding your home with natural light from big bi-folds creates a £5,256 price uplift.
Garage conversion: One of the quickest building projects, most garage conversions do not require planning permission and can add an extra £4,847 to your property’s value.
Renovated or restored period features: If you’re lucky enough to own a period property, keep original features in good shape to earn an additional £4,731.
Extension: What you will make depends on the size and style, but a typical extension can see your home increase by £4,847.
Buy of the week
LOOKING for a new pad? Greater Manchester is home to the country’s biggest new-build boom, with properties worth a whopping £1.4billion constructed there in the past year.
Among them is this trendy three-bed terrace in Eccles, on the market for £185,000 at zoopla.co.uk/new-homes/details/51000781.
LEAP year could see your home soar in value. The average annual house price growth during a leap year sits at 7.3 per cent compared to the year before, says a new report by estate agent Benham and Reeves.
If correct, it could see the average UK house price hit £248,459 by December.
Company managing director Anita Mehra said: “This is great for homeowners who may be thinking about selling, or home buyers currently completing on a purchase.”
Deal of the week
WATCH the box in style.
This £129 Ottawa TV unit is around half the price of designer styles and only available at British Heart Foundation shops.
Save: Average £100
Judge Rinder regrets he cannot answer questions personally. Answers are intended as general guidance. They do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for obtaining independent legal advice.