What are my rights to reimbursement for improvements made to real estate?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2012

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What are my rights to reimbursement for improvements made to real estate?

My ex-fiance and I bought a house together 6 years ago. The house was in her name because of better credit and financing options. Before we bought the house we verbally agreed to if we had to ever break to split the sale of the house minus closing costs. The main reason Iwanted to make this agreement was because I would be putting my money into renovating this piece of property. During my stay in this residence. I totally redid the inside/outside and the landscaping. Can I take her to small claims if Ihave receipts for the remodels?

Asked on January 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, ownership rights in real property typically need to be spelled out in a written document. An oral agreement would not typically suffice to give a person an ownership in interest in real property.

In your situation you can bring an action in small claims court for reimbursement of the expenditures you did concerning the real property for your former girlfriend. Whether you prevail is another question. While you were living in the home, did you pay rent and a portion of the utilities or was the work you performed in exchange for such?

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