Can my ex’s debts affect me?

Dear James,

I have a mortgage with my now ex-partner and potential default letters and final notice letters are being sent to my address. I have contacted my council and they said they would remove her name from the electoral roll, but my concern is that bailiffs can come to the house because of the financial link. Is there anything that I can do to stop this, and will it affect me?

Shonah, Preston

Dear Shonah,

First things first - you are not responsible for debts run up by your ex-partner, as long as they were in her sole name and you didn’t act as guarantor. If bailiffs or debt collectors do knock on your door, simply tell them that your ex has moved away and give them her new address if you have it. They have absolutely no right to enter your property and seize your goods. However, as things stand, your credit rating might be in peril. These days, credit checks are carried out on people not addresses, but a financial connection like a joint mortgage will mean that your credit reports are linked in the eyes of lenders. As a result, debts that you ex has run up in her own name could be hurting your credit rating. If the only remaining financial link between you is the joint mortgage and you have been living apart for six months or more, you can ask Experian and the other credit reference agencies to considering breaking the link between your credit reports. As far as your Experian report is concerned, the easiest way to do this is to use our online disassociation form. Once your disassociation has been confirmed, your ex’s credit report will no longer be visible to lenders when you apply for credit, and vice versa. (November 2012)

James
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