General Question

chelle21689's avatar

Should a partner have any right to a house not in their name?

Asked by chelle21689 (6786points) December 19th, 2016

I am finally moving out and I’m super excited. I decided to buy a condo that I am really in love with. It is under my name, I’ve been handling communication with a realtor, I’m meeting with my bank to see if I can get another quote on the interest rate for the loan, etc.

My boyfriend of 5 years is moving in with me too and will be helping me pay the mortgage. If anything were to happen, I would still be able to afford the house, money would just be a bit tight than what it is now.

Anyway, we are in a really good spot and are getting serious but because we aren’t married this question has popped in my head. If the condo is in MY NAME and his isn’t but he is paying half each month, should he be entitled to the property if anything were to happen? Would it be selfish if I didn’t want to move and sell?

I know some of you will think it’s a bad move but I wanted to buy a condo either way with or without my boyfriend. I wanted out of my house!

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15 Answers

rojo's avatar

I would be happy if our house was in my wifes name and she was ok with me living there. In fact, I would be happy if my name never appeared on any legal document.

Whether or not he is “entitled” to half would depend upon the laws of your state/country. Morally, I would say yes, but legal and moral are two different hounds.

chelle21689's avatar

Luckily my sister’s boyfriend is an attorney. I wonder if he would know anything about cases like these. I’m not anticipating a break up but I just want to cover everything. I am also planning to write a will for my boyfriend stating that as long as we are together and if something were to happen to me he would have the rights to the house.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

You need to have a pre-nup drawn up. I’m not sure what the law is where you are, but here, if your boyfriend moves in and pays the mortgage, or contributes to renovations, etc. or he lives with you and contributes to the household for a few years, he can make a claim on your property. So get some legal advice to protect your assets. Not romantic, but neither is having to deal with a claim against your assets if things don’t work out.

Congrats on your first home too. It’s an exciting time.

chyna's avatar

Congratulations! So exciting to buy your first home!
I would get legal advice because it will be different answers depending on where you live.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, he shouldn’t have his name on it, unless he is married.

Worst case: he murders you and claims the house….

zenvelo's avatar

You BOTH need to talk to an attorney.

If something happens, he might lose any ability to recover what is ethically and morally half his, because he is paying half.

And, you might lose to him because a court may find that even though he was not on the deed, he is entitled to half of the house because he paid half from the beginning.

Worst case, something happens to him, but his sneaky mean sisters come and claim half the house from under you.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are both ethical and legal matters here too serious for so casual an understanding. Life is just too full of twists to undertake an investment of this magnitude minus a firm
LEGAL footing for all involved. And the optimum moment for the achievement of this is obviously at the outset.

BellaB's avatar

You both need to check in with a lawyer on this. It is very jurisdiction dependent.

janbb's avatar

Agree on the consult a lawyer and draw up an agreement. You may even want to structure things so that he is a tenant of yours paying rent rather than part of the mortgage but do get legal advice and make things very clear before moving in together.

JLeslie's avatar

Congratulations! The condo sounds wonderful.

It depends by state. Laws vary greatly by state. Laws also change over time in each state and there usually isn’t a grandfathered in clause.

In Florida, if you were married (which I know you aren’t right now) he would be entitled by law to part of the house value. It especially comes into play if you died (God forbid). It wouldn’t matter if you had a pre-nup or draw up a will wanting it all to go to a sibling or parent or friend, your spouse has some rights to their homestead, even if their name isn’t on the deed, and the spouse who actually bought it in their name can’t screw the other completely out of it. The law trumps any contract that might have been drawn up. A cheating husband can’t will his house to his mistress, his wife has some homestead rights. I give this example, because the spirit of the law is just that, to protect the spouse from being homeless.

Since you aren’t married, this sort of thing probably only comes into play if the state you are in has some sort of common law marriage laws.

You would really need to consult a lawyer in your state, but you certainly can google a little. You should only trust state government websites for answers. They should site the actual law or statute as a reference.

If you have a lawyer review your closing papers, that same lawyer should be very familiar with real estate law and can answer that question.

To clarify, in Florida, even if you buy your home before getting married, only in your name, once married if that is the primary residence for your husband he has legal rights to the domicile and rights to a portion of its worth. If not married none of that applies. If you’re not married and die without a will, the house will go to whatever state law dictates. In your case it’s probably either your parents or siblings. If you break up in FL he leaves with nothing regarding the house. A judge would look at his payments as half the rent for living there, not as paying into the mortgage.

BellaB's avatar

While you’re at it, check your jurisdictions laws re common-law marriage. In some jurisdictions, it’s possible to be married without ever having lived together. The law, it is a fascinating thing.

tranquilsea's avatar

In Canada we have common law status that can impact these types of situations. The state considers you married “ish” if you have been living together for more than “x” amount of time and/or you have a child together. The time together varies Province by Province.

It is important to get the laws in your particular province/state.

filmfann's avatar

This is the right answer:
If any payment of the mortgage is drawn on his checking account, he can say you both own it.
If every check to the mortgage company is drawn on your account, and he pays you half the amount every month, you can say that is rent.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Oh wow. I hope you ignore most of what has been said here and ask an attorney in the state where the condo is located. There are some good options but property law is state specific. Some states allow a lot of protection for unmarried cohabitants, some do not. Good luck.

chyna's avatar

@MollyMcGuire 11 of the 13 posts, not including yours, says to contact a lawyer. Why would she ignore the same thing from 11 of us that you said?

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