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 of its value in cash.
This article will how you how Monopoly mortgages work and show you exactly when you should mortgage and unmortgage your properties to win the game.
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.
But, you will need to grasp the mortgage rules to play Monopoly properly and not waste money.
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 charge any rent and you can’t build houses on it.
Here’s what the official Monopoly rules says about mortgaging…
However, I expect that you still have some questions in mind after reading that, right? So, read on and I’ll explain everything…
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
Here’s a summary of the most important mortgage rules in Monopoly.
Key Monopoly Mortgage Rules You Must Follow:
- You cannot mortgage a property that has houses or hotels (you must sell them first)
- No rent can be collected on mortgaged properties
- To lift a mortgage, you must pay the mortgage amount plus 10%
- The player who mortgaged a property keeps possession of it (just turn over the title deed card)
- You can sell mortgaged properties to another player
- New owners of mortgaged properties can unmortgage now by paying the mortgage amount +10%, or later by paying the mortgage amount +20%
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the mortgage rules…
1. You cannot mortgage a property that has houses or hotels
To mortgage a property, you must not have developed it. You can’t mortgage a property if it has houses or hotels on it.
What if you want to mortgage 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 to the bank (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.
You can have three houses on one property in a set and two on another – that’s okay. But having three on one property and only one house on the other won’t fly.
Read more: How to Sell Houses in Monopoly
2. No rent can be collected on mortgaged properties
If you land on a property that has been mortgaged, no rent is due. You do not have to do anything, it’s simply a free space where you can enjoy a rest.
But, if one property in a set is mortgaged and you land on another in the set that is not mortgaged, then you must still pay rent. And if the owner has the full set, you must pay double rent, even if some are mortgaged.
3. To lift a mortgage, you must pay the mortgage amount plus 10%
How do you unmortgage a property in Monopoly?
When you have enough cashy to lift the mortgage, you must pay back the mortgage value as well as 10% interest.
Once you have unmortgaged – turn over the title deed card. You can then start charging rent again from the next time that someone lands on the property.
(Anyone already on the property as you unmortgage doesn’t have to pay.)
If your color set is all unmortgaged, you can start to buy houses and hotels.
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
4. The player who mortgaged a property keeps possession of it.
When you mortgage a property, you still own it. You will keep the title deed card, but turn it to the red side to show that it’s mortgaged.
Only you can unmortgage properties that you own – no other player may lift the mortgage or take possession of the property unless you sell it to them.
5. You can sell mortgaged properties to another player
You can trade mortgaged properties with another player or sell them the property.
Remember that a mortgaged property is only worth about half as much as when it is not mortgaged.
Read more: Monopoly Trading Rules & Strategies to Win
6. New owners of mortgaged properties can unmortgage now by paying +10%, or later by paying +20%
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.
- Unmortgage immediately – pay the mortgage value plus 10%
- Unmortgage 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?
Bankrupt and out of the game? Here’s what to do…
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 all of your properties, 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 mortgage value plus 10%
- Unmortgage later – Pay 10% immediately and then pay the mortgage value + a further 10% when unmortgaging
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 sold in an unmortgaged state.
Read more: Monopoly Auction Rules
Monopoly mortgage FAQs
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.
Read more: Monopoly Rent Rules Explained
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.
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.
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.
In particular, people forget about the rule that says that you have to pay an extra 10% to unmortgage later for any property that’s acquired from another player.
A good mortgage strategy 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.