Q In 2017, six months after buying my one-bedroom flat in 2017, I lost my job. I managed to get another one but at half my previous salary. I’m still able to pay my mortgage but my repayments now make up about half of my monthly income. Since 2018 I have been dating a guy who is now planning to buy a three-bedroom house for him and his two children. The house needs to be in a different area from where I live so that the children can be closer to their mother and in the catchment area of the school they hope to go to.
We have been talking about me moving in with them. He suggested that I sell my flat but after talking to a few estate agents, I decided against selling as I would have got back less than I paid for it. So I’ve now decided that if I do move in with my partner, I will rent my flat out even though the potential rental income will not fully cover my monthly mortgage payments, which is not ideal.
My real problem is that my boyfriend and I can’t agree on how to arrange our finances. My boyfriend expects me to contribute to the costs of his mortgage. I agree that it would be unfair of me to live in his house for free but I don’t agree that – as he has suggested – I should pay him the rent from my flat (after tax). He seems to think that as I will get this extra income only as a result of moving in with him, it’s his to take even though I need the money to meet most of my mortgage payments.
I also feel that if I am to pay more than a third of his mortgage, we should talk about that giving me rights to his property, of course pro rata to the amount of my contributions. In response, he argued that if I got rights to his property, he would automatically have rights to my property because I am earning money on it, thanks to the fact of me living with him. I don’t think this is right nor is it fair, given that I won’t have a room to myself in his house and I’m facing increased travel costs.
A If I were an agony aunt, I would say: “Ditch him.” Emotions aside, because your mortgage repayments would be greater than your potential rental income, letting your flat out might not be an option. You will be able to convert your current residential mortgage to a buy-to-let only if you can show that the rental income will be at least 125% of your mortgage repayment, which you clearly can’t. To obtain a “permission to let” from your current lender you are likely to have to show that any rent at least covers the mortgage which, again, you can’t.
But even if you were able to get a lender’s blessing to let your flat, I’m still not convinced that moving in with your boyfriend is a wise move – especially not on his terms. You might be able to convince him to change his mind if you told him that – whatever he thinks – even though you are not a joint owner of his house, the fact that you would be paying part of the mortgage would make you someone with a financial interest in the property. This wouldn’t be the case if – rather than making financial contributions towards the value of the property by making mortgage repayments or paying for renovations, for example – you were merely to split the bills.
The notion that he would get rights to your flat if you – legitimately – got rights to part of his house is laughable.