Mom didn’t qualify for a mortgage and her daughter agreed to help by co-signing the deed and the loan. But Mom stumbled financially and won’t leave. Now what?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Question: I bought a house with my mom two years ago because she did not qualify for the entire home loan based on her income and credit score. The first year I helped with mortgage payments and told her before purchasing the house, I would only help for one year, so she would have to find another income source.

Since then, she was late on her payment twice, which has affected my credit. She cannot qualify to refinance and is refusing to sell the house. How do I get my name off the mortgage and title? – Maria

Answer: Unfortunately, I deal with this scenario often in my law practice. You and your mother both own the property and are both responsible for it.

You are also both borrowers under the mortgage loan and equally responsible for making the payments. Your lender will not be concerned with any understandings you may have had with your mother.

You cannot remove yourself from the mortgage loan unless your lender agrees, which will not happen.

You can deed your half of the property to your mother, but this would leave you in the unenviable position of owing money on a home you do not own. That is not a good situation to be in.

I recommend that people who are not married to each other who will own property together sign a contract detailing their understanding of each person’s roles and responsibilities.

Unless you can talk your mother into selling or refinancing the loan without you, you will have no choice but to take her to court to force her to either buy you out by paying off the loan or having the property sold on the open market. This type of lawsuit is called a Partition and is a typical result of situations such as yours.

I am sure that you do not want to sue your mother, but if she does not cooperate with you on this, you will be left with no other reasonable choice.

© 2021 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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