Changing the name on the deeds - do I need a transfer of equity?

If you’re looking to remove or add a name to the deeds of your property, or ‘buy out’ an ex-partner, you’ll need a transfer of equity. Here are a few different reasons you might need a transfer of equity, how you can go about getting the process started, and what you need to do.

Divorce or separation

If you have decided with your ex-partner that you will separate and one of you will keep the property, you’ll need a conveyancing solicitor to work out the transfer of equity.

Perhaps your ex-partner is happy to be taken off the deeds without requiring payment, or you may want to arrange an exchange of assets. You may want to buy them out. It remains a transfer of equity whether or not money changes hands.

When you’re transferring equity due to divorce or separation it’s important not to forget your mortgage lender. Whilst you may have come to an agreement about who will take over the ownership of the property, you need to discuss with your mortgage lender whether you can afford the mortgage alone.

 Focus on the deeds

When couples separate, especially if they are unmarried, often the partner remaining in the house adapts the mortgage and doesn’t remove the partner from the deeds. Perhaps they don’t think it matters if they are paying the mortgage, or the partner who left says they do not want the house.

It’s important to always ensure you get a transfer of equity as soon as you have decided to take full responsibility for the property. Solely paying the mortgage will not make a difference – if the names are on the deed, the person has a stake in the property.

Whilst your partner may say now that they don’t want anything, when the time comes to sell your home, it may become more complicated.

 How long does a transfer of equity take?

This depends on whether there is a mortgage on the property and whether both parties are in agreement about the terms. Your solicitor will go through the paperwork, confirm all the details and apply to the Land Registry to change the deeds. If a property has no mortgage, the process can be extremely quick. If there are complications and disagreements, it will always take longer.

Adding a name to the deeds

Equity transfer is not just about removing a name from the deeds. It also includes adding a name. For example, parents may want to add their children to the deeds of the family home. When someone marries their partner, they may want to add them to the deeds of the property they already owned.

Transferring equity, regardless of whether money changes hands, requires a solicitor to make the appropriate changes to the paperwork, and to change the name on the deeds to your property.

Other concerns when transferring equity

You’ll need to pay your conveyancing fees to transfer equity, but you will also want to think about whether or not you’ll need to pay Stamp Duty – if you’re acquiring a portion of a property over the tax threshold, this may be the case.



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Steve Clark

Steve creates helpful guides for The Law Superstore. He enjoys digging deep into new areas of the law, supporting partners, and translating legalese and jargon into plain English everyone can understand.