My mom has been unemployed and has been on social insurance since 2017. Somehow in 2018 she ‘bought’ a new house in Georgia that I suspected she couldn’t afford. A year later, she confessed to me that she had been bought by a family friend with whom she had had a secret love affair for over 30 years.
Mr. Secret is in an open and unhappy marriage and has no plans to divorce. He never moved into the house with my mom, but they had a notarized agreement that he would pay off the mortgage and she would pay for utilities. They also agreed to put the deed in my mother’s name only so that his wife or children would not inherit the house in the event of death.
In 2019, their affair ended and Mr. Secret asked my mom to leave the house so he could sell it, but she refused. Since the deed was in his name, he couldn’t evict it, so he told her he would let the house go into foreclosure.
Due to her poor credit, my mother was unable to have the mortgage transferred to her name. She made partial payments for the mortgage as best she could, but struggled to do so.
“âMy mom continues to struggle to pay off the mortgage. Somehow, she was able to get him debited directly from her bank account.“
In 2020, she âfell in loveâ with a new guy she met on a senior dating app. Within a month of meeting New Guy, he paid to update his mortgage and moved into the house with my mom. A few months later he bought the house and they had his name added to the deed.
Unfortunately, New Guy turned out to be an abusive con artist and their relationship ended in less than 6 months with my mom filing a restraining order against him. He also stopped paying the mortgage after moving, leaving my mom to struggle again to pay it on her own.
She reluctantly moved the tenants to her extra rooms as it was her only way to generate income, but according to her, that income is still not enough to cover all of her expenses.
My mom continues to struggle to pay off the mortgage. Somehow, she was able to have it deducted directly from her bank account, but the monthly amount owed recently increased by a few hundred dollars (for unknown reasons) and the new payment amount exceeds the amount. that she had previously budgeted (which makes her short on other invoices).
““The mortgage is still only in New Guy’s name, so she is unable to speak with the lender to make payment arrangements.”“
The mortgage is still only in New Guy’s name, so she is unable to speak with the lender to make payment arrangements. I asked my mom what was preventing New Guy from evicting him since the mortgage is in his name and both of their names are on the deed.
She said the police told her New Guy couldn’t kick him out because she had a restraining order against him (that doesn’t make sense to me). She also believes that since she makes the mortgage payment herself, it gives her extra protection against eviction (I’m not sure if that’s correct either).
My mother looked for a job to increase her income but was unlucky, and she refused my suggestions to move into a more affordable apartment or a retirement home that was within her means. I have helped her financially for most of my adult life, but now I have my own debts and can’t help her without hurting myself.
Do you have any advice for advising her? What protections (if any) does she have against eviction from her home? If New Guy dies, what claims could his children make in this house? If my mother dies, what would be my responsibilities?
I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a will in place, and honestly, I don’t want anything to do with the house other than removing her things when she passes by.
A very worried child
Dear very worried,
This is an unfortunate sequence of events.
Each of the three parties – your mother, Mr. Secret, and New Guy – all wanted something. Your mother wanted these men to pay off her mortgage, or at least part of it, and they wanted love, romance, and / or a stake in a property. It has become a toxic situation. Your mom is now struggling to pay a mortgage on a house in which she only has a 50% share.
There are so many lessons from this sad story. Don’t buy a house you can’t afford. And never put someone else’s name on your house deed. Once you’ve done this heinous act – unless it was done under duress or some kind of fraud – there’s little she can do to reverse it.
Your mom’s next course of action will depend on how much equity (if any) she has in the house. If there is enough, she could sue for sharing, thereby forcing New Guy to sell the property, assuming he won’t sign a ceasefire and give up his right to the house. She should, of course, consult a real estate lawyer to consider her options.
““Your mom’s next course of action will depend on how much equity – if any – she has in the house.”“
If your mother lives in a state of judicial foreclosure, the foreclosure must go through the court system. In non-judicial foreclosure states where the process is often faster, the lender may only notify homeowners that they are in default before putting their home up for auction. The process can take months or years, depending on the state.
What happens if New Guy dies before your mother? It depends on the type of rental they have. If they are registered in the deed as “common tenants”, they each own 50% and, in the event of the death of one of them, they can leave your half to a third party. So, yes, if New Guy passed away his children would receive his share, unless otherwise stated in his will.
If they have a âjoint tenancy with rights of survivorship,â they each have an undivided interest in the house, and if New Guy dies, his share goes to the other person on the deed, in this case your mother. And vice versa. This can also be used for bank and brokerage accounts. But their arrangement should be concluded as soon as possible.
It is difficult to say what is true and what is fiction in this story. According to the story your mom told, New Guy is sitting up and ready to let his credit score take a hit. Whether or not your mother’s name is on this house deed or not, I don’t recommend digging into your own pockets.
This situation is complicated enough at three.
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