Can I get myself out of a mortgage as a co-signer?

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Can I get myself out of a mortgage as a co-signer?

I co-signed for my cousin 3 years ago and the deal was that I was only going to be on the mortgage for a year. He would have to refinance after the year and now it has been three years and I am stuck in this mortgage where I don’t even live in the house. Ive reached out to him but nothing has been planned to take me out, I’ve thought about taking him to court what should I do?

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, under the circumstances there may not be much that you can do. If your cousin cannot refinace to get a new mortgage in their name, then you will probably have to remain on the existing mortgage. That having been said, you could try to get a what is called a "novation". This involves asking the lender to remove your name from the mortgage. While this is rarely allowed, it is worth a try. A novation could be accomplished by your cousin continuing to pay the mortgage, showing that they have no late payments, and proving that they were the only one paying the mortgage. If so, then the lender may allow your name to be removed.  Also, your cousin may be able to obtain a nova tionif they "buy" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the outstanding mortgage balance. 


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