How to seek reimbursement for repairs to a home?

About 4 months ago, my boyfriend, kids and I were asked by my aunts to live in my deceased grandparent’s home. The deal was that we could stay there rent free as long as we paid the property taxes. For the next 3 months, we made repairs worth thousands of dollars (the house was left in an unlivable condition which is why we made repairs). We moved in on the1 st of last month and since then we have made repair after repair after repair. They told us they would exterminate, fix the roof, A/C (which they didn’t do) and pay us for repairs. We received a total of $800 which isn’t near what we’ve spent.

Asked on August 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there was an agreement that you would be reimbursed for the cost of any repairs you made, then you can enforce that agreement, including in court (by a lawsuit for breach of contract--even if it was an oral or verbal contract), if need be.

But there was no agreement made *in advance*--that is, before you did the work--that you would be reimbursed, you most likely have no recourse. The law does not let you do work or make improvements which no one asked for and no one agreed to pay for, then charge someone for them after the fact. Without an agreement, there is no basis to seek payment.


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