Husband’s previous home bars us from help-to-buy scheme

Q&A: Dominic Coyle answers your personal finance questions

Is there any way a married person can independently apply for a mortgage? Photograph: iStock

Is there any way a married person can independently apply for a mortgage? Photograph: iStock

 

In a piece last year on – Youthful purchase abroad disbars couple from first-time buyer status – you mention the only way around is for the non-property owner to buy the property in their own name, if they can get over the salary multiple.

Myself and my husband are in a similar situation. My husband bought an apartment years ago but I have never bought. We are looking at a house now that I would be able to get the mortgage for on my own and we have the deposit saved.

However, the banks I have rung have said that, because we are married, I can’t get a mortgage on my own because of the Family Home Protection Act, and so we would be assessed as a couple and can’t get the first-time buyer help-to-buy scheme relief.

I’m just wondering if you are aware of any way a married person can independently apply for a mortgage?

Ms P.O’F., email

There is a crucial difference between you and the couple who wrote to me last year – you’re married and they weren’t.

I know that, in general, being married is never a disadvantage in Irish tax law – and often is an advantage – but this is certainly the exception.

The general rule on mortgages is that if any party to a mortgage application has previously bought a home, then all parties to the application are disbarred from first-time buyer status.

To address a similar question from another reader, Mr P.C., this is the case even where he was never included on the deeds of the property but his name was on the mortgage as he agreed to that in order to help a sister get her home loan for a house she was building when the lender demanded a guarantor.

And, as you have discovered, if you are married, any Irish lender will want both your names on any mortgage on a family home. I’m not sure how things transpired for the reader who was in touch last year but at least, as they weren’t married, the banks would not have felt as hamstrung.

Having said that, I would imagine that, even then, it would be an uphill battle. Lenders like more rather than less security and two earners on a mortgage application is definitely better for them.

The bottom line is that, no, in terms of a family home, I cannot think of any way that a married person would be allowed to apply for a mortgage independent of their partner. If anyone comes back to point me to a lender prepared to do otherwise, I’ll happily let you know.

And yes, that will exclude you from the potential to avail of the help-to-buy scheme.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

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