When you first play Monopoly, the basic rules seem relatively simple. You’ll move around the board, buying property and hoping to take rent from your opponents. You might also add houses and hotels, so you can charge higher rents.
At some point during a Monopoly game, it’ll be time to learn about mortgages.
In Monopoly, mortgaging a property means that instead of owning it outright, the bank takes temporary control. In return, you’ll be paid back half what you originally spent on it. Wouldn’t it be great if mortgages worked the same way in real life?
The rules for mortgages in Monopoly can be tricky to get to grips with. Plus, there are some Monopoly mortgage rules that most people actually play incorrectly!
Read on to find out more about how Monopoly mortgages work, and what happens when you mortgage and unmortgage a property.
What does mortgage mean in Monopoly?
In a game of Monopoly, mortgaging a property puts it ‘on hold’ temporarily. You will still be in possession of the property card, but you can’t build on a mortgaged property and you must stop charging rent on it.
If another player lands on your mortgaged property, they’re there for a rest with no need to lose any cash.
To mortgage a property, you must not have developed it. You can’t mortgage a property if it has houses or hotels on it.
Mortgaging a property that has houses or hotels on it
If you wish to mortgage a developed property, you must first sell back the houses and hotels (for half of their original price).
In Monopoly, all properties within a color group must be developed evenly. The same applies in reverse, so you can’t simply sell all the houses from one property whilst others still have their hotels.
To sell the houses on one property you must also be selling them on other properties in the same color group.
What happens when you mortgage a property in Monopoly?
When you mortgage a property in Monopoly, you turn the Title Deed card over. You’ll receive a refund of half of the property’s original value – the mortgage value is printed on the card.
When the property is mortgaged, it’s inactive. You can’t develop it. You can’t charge rent if someone lands on it. You can, however, sell a mortgaged property to another player in the game.
How to mortgage in Monopoly
- Make sure that the property doesn’t have any houses or hotels on it
- Turn the Title Deed card over so that it is face-down
- Collect the cash equivalent of the mortgage value from the Bank
How do you unmortgage a property in Monopoly?
When you have enough money to lift the mortgage, you must pay back the mortgage value as well as 10% interest. You can then start charging rent again, as well as developing by adding houses and hotels (as long as no other properties within the color group are still mortgaged).
How to unmortgage in Monopoly
- Pay the Bank the mortgage value, plus an additional 10% interest
- Turn over the Title Deed card so that it is face-up
- You can begin to collect rent once more
Monopoly rules for trading mortgaged properties
Most people don’t fully understand the Monopoly rules for trading mortgaged properties.
It’s widely assumed that the new owner of a property follows the same rules for unmortgaging as the original owner. This is not the case. In fact, if you wait too long, you’ll actually pay more to lift a property’s mortgage.
- Paying back the mortgage immediately – If a player buys a mortgaged property and immediately unmortgages it, they must pay the mortgage value plus 10% interest to lift the mortgage
- Paying back the mortgage later – If the new owner doesn’t immediately unmortgage the property, then they must also pay an additional 10% on top of the interest when they eventually choose to lift the mortgage
Let’s say you do a trade and acquire the mortgaged Boardwalk which has a mortgage value of $200.
If you choose to unmortgage immediately, it would cost you $220.
If you choose to unmortgage on your next turn or later, it would cost you $240.
What happens to mortgaged property in Monopoly when you lose?
If you owe another player…
If you can’t afford to pay rent to a player, they take everything of value that you own and you will retire from the game. You must sell back any houses and hotels to the Bank for half of their original value, and give that cash, along with your property, to the player that made you bankrupt.
Any mortgaged property is included in this transaction – you must hand it over to the person who made you bankrupt.
The new owner of property acquired through bankruptcy can choose to immediately unmortgage the property or keep it mortgaged until later
- Unmortgage immediately – Pay the Bank the unmortgage cost
- Keep it mortgaged – Pay the bank 10% of the mortgage value now
If you owe the Bank…
If your bankruptcy was caused by money owed to the Bank, rather than to another player, then everything you own gets returned to the Bank and all mortgages are canceled.
All of your properties must then be immediately sold via auction. Property sold via auction will be unmortgaged.
Read more: Monopoly Auction Rules
Monopoly mortgage FAQs
Can you collect rent on a mortgaged property in Monopoly?
If a property is mortgaged in Monopoly, you cannot collect rent when someone lands on it.
You can still charge rent for other unmortgaged properties within the same color group, but you can’t add houses or hotels to these properties until none of the properties within that color group are mortgaged.
Can I charge double rent if one property in a color set is mortgaged?
When you own all of the properties in a color set but have not built any houses or hotels, you can charge double rent. This rule applies to unmortgaged properties, even if another property in that color group is mortgaged.
What is ‘mortgage value’ in Monopoly?
The mortgage value is the amount of cash that you’ll receive for mortgaging a property. It is printed on each Title Deed card. The mortgage value is half of the original value of the property.
Can you mortgage houses in Monopoly?
You can’t mortgage houses in Monopoly. You can only mortgage properties (e.g. Boardwalk). If you have houses, you may raise cash by selling them back to the Bank for half of their original price.
Even some long-term Monopoly players aren’t using the mortgage rules correctly.
While the Monopoly mortgage rules aren’t as complicated as they might first seem, you must read the rules very carefully to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed.
Properties mortgaged in Monopoly are on hold until you lift the mortgage, but they stay in your possession and nobody can pay the mortgage back and claim the property without your permission.
If a property is mortgaged, you can’t build on it or on any other properties within the same color group.
A good tip is to try to lift the mortgage as soon as possible so that you can earn money from your property. However, doing this too early could leave you with no money and a need to mortgage properties again, so, be careful.