If we’re building a house but my girlfriend has now decided that she wants out, what is she owed?

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If we’re building a house but my girlfriend has now decided that she wants out, what is she owed?

Over the past 2 years my girlfriend and I have been building a house. She has put money into it and I have been doing all the labor with my family. She has recently decided that she wants out and nothing to do with the house due to the expenses. I have agreed to pay back all the money she has put into building it once I get the final and loan for the house. She is now saying that she wants all her money back, plus the interest the lot has been on loan for interest only payments until its paid off by house loan and interest on top of everything for her money being invested for 2 years. She and I legally signed for the lot, but because we are doing interest only payments we don’t officially own the lot until its paid off and since we don’t have a final on the house yet, we don’t have a mortgage on the house yet and don’t technically own it. We’ve used my parents as a

Asked on November 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

She's actually not entitled to anything but a share of the proceeds if and when the home is sold unless you and she had a written agreement about allowing her out and repaying her. If you did have such an agreement, it is enforceable as per its plain terms and you owe her whatever the agreement says; without such an agreement, you  don't have to pay her anything at this time. When two people jointly buy or build something, neither one has to pay out or buy out the other without an agreement.
As stated, since you and she will be joint owners of the home, when the house is sold, she is entitled to her share (50%) of the proceeds. She will also have the ability to force a sale of the home by going to court if she wants it sold and you do not--but as a practical matter, that can't happen until the home is complete. So she actually does not have much leverage at this point; while it's advantageous to work things out voluntarily, you don't have to offer her more than you are comfortable offering.


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