A divorced husband has been ordered by the High Court to transfer the legal title to 42 properties solely into his own name or sell them.
The judge found that he had not made his best efforts to remove his ex-wife from the mortgages of the properties that he had received in the divorce settlement.
The couple’s marriage broke down in 2009, when they had a combined portfolio of 127 properties.
After several years of negotiations, it was decided that 60 properties should go to the wife and 67 to the husband.
A judge ordered that by September 2015 both husband and wife must procure the release of the other from any liability under the mortgage secured on their properties.
The wife complied but the husband delayed, claiming that to re-mortgage the properties into solely his name would significantly increase his monthly outgoings. He claimed that the order and deed provided only for the transfer of the beneficial interest in the properties and not the legal interest.
In 2018, a judge found that the husband had not used his best endeavours to obtain the wife’s release from the mortgages and ordered that the properties be put up for sale unless, within six months, he transferred the legal title to 42 properties into his sole name and obtained the wife’s release from the mortgages on those properties.
The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision. The husband had taken no obvious steps to release the wife from her obligations under the mortgages.
It was not surprising that the judge had formed the view that he was in breach of his liability to transfer the properties.
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