Our eldest son, almost 40 years old, bought a house three years ago as the sole owner and paid the mortgage himself. He met a girl 12 months ago and they are talking about getting married next year. They intend to put their name on the deeds and mortgage now. We like her and are happy for him, but wonder if this is an easy process or expensive? And what are the consequences if they separate before the wedding?
Sinead answers: I can hear your concerns about your son but would precede any answer by suggesting that whatever decisions he makes are of course his own.
Mortgaging someone is not an easy process at all, and indeed not one that banks routinely allow, so your son may well encounter an early hurdle. If a house is to be lived in together, it is basically a new contract.
That means your son’s girlfriend will technically be applying for a new mortgage with him, with the financial rigors that come with it. The costs therefore arise from time and legal fees as well as the necessary checks and balances for each loan application.
Regarding the legal advice surrounding the plan, William Tilley, a senior associate at Ivor Fitzpatrick & Co Solicitors, says he would be reluctant to put anyone on a home’s charters after such a short relationship. “When a couple lives together and their relationship falls apart, the home effectively passes to the person who has legal title to the property,” he says.
“Regarding the addition of his girlfriend to the deeds, had they separated before the marriage as they lived together, the house would be considered joint property by both parties. Both your son and his partner would have to decide together what to do with the property. If no agreement can be reached, a court application can be made to sell the property and split the proceeds.
“Alternatively, depending on the type of property, a court order to dispose of the property can be obtained. This would allow each party to decide what to do with their share. This would not be uncommon in cases where a piece of land is attached to the house. Another thing to note is the “Act on Civil Partnerships and Certain Rights and Obligations of Concubines (2010)”. A lawyer can give you more detailed advice on this, as under this legislation cohabiting couples can have recourse to the courts once they reach certain thresholds in terms of length of time together, whether they have children, etc. That may not apply to this case moment.”
Independent legal advice is a must here.
I have the opportunity to purchase a property owned by my deceased aunt. It is in Laois and in very poor condition. The reason I didn’t buy it when she died in 2019 when it was provided to me by her family was because I couldn’t afford to fix it and then Covid struck. I may be able to move in there as my company allows me to work from home permanently and I am interested in this new scholarship program but not sure if I am eligible. Can you tell me what’s up with that?
Sinead answers: The Croí Cónaithe (Municipalities) fund program is available to mortgage approved first time buyers to acquire a derelict or vacant property and convert it into a home without the need for planning permission and with a subsidy of up to €50,000.
I can’t say if you’ll qualify, but based on that alone you’ll probably know right away if it’s worth looking into.
Rob Flynn from Bonkers.ie says the program aims to repurpose old buildings and help with the housing shortage. The subsidy is capped at €30,000 if you are simply renovating a vacant property (commercial or residential) and a further €20,000 if the property is structurally unstable or dangerous.
You must demonstrate this for the extras with an independent report from a surveyor or engineer. The subsidy must include VAT, and generally the home must have been built before 1993 and have been vacant for at least two years, so your forced delay may actually work in your favour.
In detail, the plan says if you’re not a first-time buyer, you can also qualify under the Fresh Start principle. This generally applies to people who are divorced or involved in bankruptcy proceedings and have no interest in another property.
However, the real problem for you may be the mortgage application. Mr Flynn says many lenders avoid “projects” and generally don’t like mortgages on poor-quality properties. “It’s important to remember that in the mortgage approval process you are insured twice – first on your income and second on the property you wish to purchase.”
It’s not for everyone, so do your research before committing. If you think you can afford it, qualify for the subsidy and get mortgage approval, this is a great idea. Finding contractors can be another matter!
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https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/homes/ask-the-expert-our-son-wants-to-put-his-girlfriend-on-the-deeds-and-mortgage-but-what-if-they-break-up-41858700.html Ask the Expert: Our son wants to put the mortgage on his girlfriend, but what if they break up?