Can my boyfriend have a legal claim on my house if we have no rental agreement in place?

The mortgage and title are all in my name, as well as all utilities and property taxes. However, he does write me a check every month for half of the mortgage payment and notes it in the memo section. We do not have a rental agreement in place. If we were to break up, would he be able to claim ownership?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is very unlikely he could claim any ownership interest. Much more likely, even without a written lease, it would be considered that this is effectively his "rent"--he is helping out with expenses (the mortgage) as his payment or consideration for living there. Only if he could show the existence of some agreement whereby he was paying part of the mortgage specifically in order to acquire some interest in the home would he likely be able to claim such.

That does not mean, by the way, that he may not attempt to claim this, or even bring a lawsuit--it's just that without some agreement that he was "buying" an interest in the house with his payments, it is unlikely that he could establish one or 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.