Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

Abandonment of a House

My boyfriend bought a house approximately 4 years ago with his now ex-girlfriend. She is on the deed to the house and on the mortgage. She moved out on May 12th, and has removed all of her possessions from the home. She came back several days later to return the key. My boyfriend is wondering what he can do legally to get her name removed from the deed and the mortgage.

Thank you for your help.

Asked on 5/29/03, 10:59 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Gerald Hershenson Law Office of Gerald M. Hershenson

Re: Abandonment of a House

The transfer of title to a property is not a difficult issue. Both owners would have to sign a deed transfering their interest in the real estate to boy friend only. However, there is as a least a two percent transfer tax that will have to be paid on the one half interest being conveyed.In order to remove her from the mortgage obligation would require a refinancing of the property. It is possible the bank would release the girl friend from the obligation, but I believe that is not reasonable to expect. I suggest that the services of a legal counsel are needed at this point. If I can be of any assistance please let me know. Gerald Hershenson 215-579-9390

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Answered on 5/29/03, 1:27 pm

Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson

Re: Abandonment of a House

Getting someone's name off the title to real property requires the following:

1. If there is a mortgage on the property, the lender or holder of the mortgage has to consent in writing to the change in title. If you simply record a deed without getting such consent, that act alone could be a default permitting the mortgage holder to require immediate payment in full of the mortgage balance.

2. Usually, the person who is giving up an interest in the property also wants the lender or mortgage holder to release him/her in writing from obligations on the Mortgage Note, otherwise he/she would be out of title but still responsible for the repayment of the loan.

3. To remove a name from title, a person has to sign a deed transferring his/her interest to the other co-owner and have the deed recorded.

The key is to be sure that you have the necessary written consent and release from the mortgage holder.

The mortgage holder may agree to an "assumption" of the obligation by the person who will remain in title, or you will have to refinance the property, with a new mortgage at the same time as the deed taking the outgoing co-owner off title is recorded. The refinance mortgage permits paying off the old mortgage, therefore you do not have to seek that mortgage holder's consent to the change in title.

You may want to have an attorney assist you in documenting this, or at least review any deed and the documents between you and the mortgage holder.

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Answered on 5/29/03, 3:14 pm

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