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posted: 6/16/2012 5:27 AM

Husband's has tax liens will stand, even if he is removed from deed

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Q. Our home loan is in my name, with my husband listed on the deed. When our home was refinanced, the lender was supposed to take my husband's name off the deed, but they didn't. He has outstanding tax liens levied against the home. Would it be beneficial to get his name off the deed, and how?

Q. Your lender doesn't have anything to do with determining ownership of the property. The lender can't take your husband's name off the deed.

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If you want to be the sole owner, the two of you can sign a new deed putting the title in your name alone. That can be done anytime, but it won't get rid of the liens that are already there.

Q. We have a mobile home and want to try and let our mother "take over payments" so that we are free to buy a new home. Can we do that? If so, what will it take to do that?

A. I don't know whether your mobile home is on your own land and qualifies as real estate with a mortgage, or if it's on rented land. That would make it personal property with a different type of loan. In either case, your lender is the place to ask if your mother can buy your home and take over the debt.

If the point is to qualify for a mortgage on your next home, an important question is, would the lender then release you of liability on the mobile home?

Q. If my parents want to transfer a house from their name into my name, what is the best way to do that?

A. Transferring ownership is simple, assuming there's no mortgage involved. Any lawyer can help with the paperwork, but you're asking the wrong question.

Before your folks take that step, go together to a lawyer who specializes in estate planning or elder law to see if it is a good idea in your particular situation. You need to know both the advantages and the drawbacks before doing anything.

Q. We are an elderly couple living in a paid-for house but are willing to walk away from it if we could find a small home with a postage-stamp sized lawn and yard.

When we sold our first home, we had hordes of people in and out, then at sale were told to rush out and buy another home -- a very unpleasant experience.

What I wish to do now is find this ideal small home near my church, buy it and then put this house up for sale after we are moved. Can it be done with as little problems as possible? How can we conduct the whole business without the usual broker's rush?

A. If you'd be more comfortable buying first and selling later, you can certainly do it that way. That's assuming you have the financial resources to carry two properties for a few months. Some people, though, find that an even more stressful situation.

You mention "the usual broker's rush" -- but, trust me, there are all different sorts of successful real estate agents. Some are gung-ho, some are laid-back. You can certainly use someone who does business in a way you feel comfortable with.

Call local agencies and ask them to send someone over. You'll get lots of free advice with no obligation, and it shouldn't be hard to find a soft-spoken easygoing broker who feels right for you.

Q. I recently had to break a rental agreement because of noise above and below us that went on sometimes until 3 in the morning. We are senior citizens and finally had to give the manager a notice in writing that I have a heart condition and the noise compelled us to move. We gave the required notice to vacate, but the rental contract says anyone breaking the agreement prior to the expiration date would be charged $1,000. They still hold our $900 security deposit. We moved on the last day of the month, and the new tenants moved in the next day, so they didn't lose any rent. Can they legally keep $900 of my deposit due to us breaking the rental agreement?

A. According to the letter of your lease, the landlord has the right to keep the $900. It's possible, though, that a court would say they failed to provide you with habitable housing if the noise was bad enough. In that case, it would be the landlord who had broken the lease. To find out in a simple, inexpensive manner, go into small claims court asking for the $900. You can do it yourself, without a lawyer. At least you'll have the satisfaction of a judge's opinion

• Edith Lank will respond to questions sent to her at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14620 (include a stamped return envelope), or readers may email her through askedith.com.

2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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