What is an equitable mortgage?

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An equitable mortgage is a legal concept that provides security for a loan by using property as collateral. Unlike a traditional mortgage, an equitable mortgage does not involve the transfer of legal title to the lender. Instead, it creates a charge or lien on the property, giving the lender the right to sell the property to recover the outstanding debt if the borrower defaults. In this article, we will explore the concept of equitable mortgage in more detail, including its features, advantages, and legal implications.

Features of an Equitable Mortgage

An equitable mortgage is typically created in situations where a formal mortgage deed is not executed or registered, but the intention to create a mortgage is evident. Some common features of an equitable mortgage include:

Intention to Create a Mortgage: Both the borrower and the lender must have a clear intention to create a mortgage on the property. This intention can be expressed through a written agreement or can be inferred from the circumstances surrounding the transaction.

Deposit of Title Deeds: In an equitable mortgage, the borrower usually deposits the title deeds of the property with the lender as a symbol of creating security for the loan. The lender holds these deeds until the debt is repaid or until the property is sold to recover the outstanding amount.

Equitable Charge or Lien: An equitable mortgage creates an equitable charge or lien on the property. This charge gives the lender the right to sell the property to recover the debt in case of default by the borrower. However, the legal title of the property remains with the borrower until the debt is fully repaid.

Advantages of an Equitable Mortgage

Equitable mortgages offer several advantages for both borrowers and lenders. Some of these advantages include:

Simplicity and Flexibility: Equitable mortgages are relatively simple to create and do not require the formalities associated with a traditional mortgage deed. This makes them a flexible option for borrowers who may not meet the strict requirements of a conventional mortgage.

Lower Costs: Equitable mortgages often involve lower costs compared to traditional mortgages. Since there is no need for registration or stamp duty, borrowers can save on these expenses.

Quick Access to Funds: Equitable mortgages allow borrowers to quickly access funds by using their property as collateral. This can be especially useful in urgent financial situations where time is of the essence.

While equitable mortgages offer advantages, there are also some legal implications to consider. It is important to note that the legal position of an equitable mortgage may vary depending on the jurisdiction. However, some general principles apply:

Priority: The priority of an equitable mortgage is determined by the principle of “first in time, first in right.” This means that the first equitable mortgage created on a property will have priority over subsequent mortgages or charges.

Enforcement: In case of default by the borrower, the lender with an equitable mortgage has the right to enforce the charge and sell the property to recover the outstanding debt. However, the process of enforcement may require a court order, and the borrower has the right to redeem the property by repaying the debt before the sale.


In conclusion, an equitable mortgage is a legal concept that provides security for a loan using property as collateral. It offers simplicity, flexibility, and quick access to funds for borrowers, while lenders benefit from lower costs and a means of recovering their debt in case of default. Understanding the features and legal implications of an equitable mortgage is crucial for both borrowers and lenders to make informed decisions.


– LawTeacher.net: https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/property-trusts/equitable-mortgage.php
– LegalMatch: https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/equitable-mortgages.html
– Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/equitablemortgage.asp