Do I have a case to get ownership of a house if I have paid all of the expenses, including property taxes?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have a case to get ownership of a house if I have paid all of the expenses, including property taxes?

I’m currently living in a house I do not own’ I was allowed to live here before the homeowner passed away. The owner’s daughter at that time vacated the property because she didn’t want to pay property taxes and has not become

owner of the house. For the last 4 years, I have been keeping up with the house while the daughter had no contact with me whatsoever. I paid the property taxes and now the daughter is trying to force her way back into the house. I don’t think that’s legal. Do I have a case?

Asked on June 12, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you don't have a case, unfortunately:
1) Voluntarily paying expenses for someone (such as for their house) does not give you ownership over their property. You can't take someone else's belongings against their will, simply by paying for them. You would have needed an agreement that in exchange for paying, you would get ownership.
2) A court would also conclude that you did this for your own benefit and have already received value for your payments: you received a place to live. Essentially, your payments would be seen as rent for having lived there.
So yes, the daughter still have the right to her property and can remove you (such as on thirty days notice terminating your right to live there).

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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