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My wife and I purchased a house and title was placed in her name only since we used her credit for financing. We each paid 50% of the down payment and for mortgage payments. She now wants me to sign a rental agreement stating that I have been a tenant not a co-owner because the IRS states that I owe back taxes for 2 years ago and she states that the rental agreement would keep the IRS from possibly attaching a lien on the property. Since mine is a community property state, so all assets aquired at the time of marriage are community. If I sign a rental agreement would that release me from my actual 50% stake of the property or does the community property law supersede the rental agreement?
Asked on August 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 2 years ago | Contributor
Community property laws will supercede the rental agreement: no contract (e.g. a lease or rental agreement) can override laws; an agrement which violates or contradicts the law is void. Your wife is proposing fraud--lying to the IRS: don't do it.