If I co-signed on a mortgage, can I renege?

I co-signed on a mortgage for a friend, but am now having second thoughts. She neglected to tell me that she increased the amount of the mortgage renovation loan to something I think is completely unaffordable for her. The closing date is near and I would like to know if I can remove my name as co-signer before she actually takes possession of the house. I don’t want my credit ruined because she over-extended herself.

Asked on September 13, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If she has increased the mortgage amount from what it was when you co-signed the application, then you can likely get out of the loan: you agreed to co-sign for a certain size mortgage, and did not agree to a larger one; you cannot be made to agree against your will to a different loan. There are several theories that could be used to support getting out of this loan: fraud (she lied to to about what she would do); mutual mistake (the parties to the loan did not agree on a key term, it's size, but agreement to key terms is necessary to form an enforceable contract); breach of contract (not doing what was agreed to).
The issue is, you must be able to show that the new loan number is different than what you had agreed to sign for.


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