Can my ex boyfriend put a lein on my house?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my ex boyfriend put a lein on my house?

I live in Michigan. I am ending a 14 yr relationship with my live in boyfriend. He paid me 200 a month rent and purchased household goods. He paid for other items such as a washer and dryer ,hot water heater . We split a big bill of a new roof on the house. We have no legal documents stating any landlord tenant agreement. I have made payments for 27 yrs. on my home. He has not made any mortgage payments.Can he but a lien on my house as he is threatening to do?

Asked on August 10, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, he cannot, based on what you write:
1) Unless you have him a security interest in the home (basically, gave him the right to foreclose if you did not repay some money borrowed from or advanced by him, such as if he'd given you a private mortgage to help pay for the home), he has no right to encumber the home in any way without first suing you and winning (see below); putting a lien on a home or otherwise getting an interest in it would require your advance consent in writing (outside of certain special circumstances which don't apply, like a contractor's lien or tax lien).
2) If someone sues you and wins and you still don't pay, they can often put a lien on the home *after* winning the lawsuit, as a way to collect from you you. But based on what you write, he does not appear to have any grounds to sue you: he voluntarily paid for shared costs and/or gifted you money (due to your relationship), which does not give him any legal right to demand this money (or anything) back from you. Only if there had again been some earlier agreement that you would repay these expenses might he be able to sue you successfully and therefore get a lien.
Note: because the law does not "prescreen" lawsuits to make sure they are viable, it may be possible for him to file a legal action, but he does not appear to have grounds to win one: if you respond to (if you fail to respond, you lose automatically, by default), you should prevail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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