Do I have any rights toany money that I have paid towards a home that is not in my name?

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Do I have any rights toany money that I have paid towards a home that is not in my name?

I have been living with a man in a home we built together 5 years ago, although my name is not on the mortgage. I have consistently paid half of all the bills, including the mortgage, and then paid solely for things such as landscaping etc. He has asked me to move out of the home. I currently do not have a place to go or the moneyto do so. Am I entitled to any sort of reimbursement from him for everything that I have paid for? How much notice does he need to give me in order to move out?

Asked on November 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Vermont

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You probably do not have any rights in or two the property or to reimbursement for  the ongoing expenses (mortgage, utilities, even probably landscaping), unless there was some agreement--including possibly an oral or verbal agreement--to the contrary. That's because if you were living in the home while paying for those things, the payments you made could be--and very likely would be--construed as "rent"; i.e. in exchange for being able to live there, you paid certain bills, expenses, etc. That means that if you do not go voluntarily, he will have to go through the formal eviction process--which at least will buy you some time--in order to get you out, same as any other other tenant.

If you paid part  of the cost of building the house, then you might fave some rights in or two--at least enough to require some compensation for the amounts spent on building it, or to give you a share of proceeds if it is sold. If you helped pay for the cost  of building it--again, as opposed to recurring or ongoing expenses, which are more like rent--you should consult with a real estate attorney to see if under the circumstances, you have some enforceable rights.


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