Can I rent-to-co-own my boyfriend’s house?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I rent-to-co-own my boyfriend’s house?

My boyfriend is buying a new house, and I plan to live with him, and pay rent. I’d like for my rent to be an investment. We have talked about a rent-to-own agreement, which would result in co-ownership in the future. What is the best rent-to-own agreement for this idea? Are there problems that we’re not thinking of?

Asked on January 10, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Rent-to-own agreements are problematic, since if you breach the agreement for any reason--have trouble making payments, due to some unexpected expense or job loss; or break up with him and move out and stop paying--you don't get your money back; it is gone. You don't get any equity in the house until the agreement is complete and you get on the deed/title. It's not clear what a better alternative would be, but you definitely need to be aware of the risks involved in this sort of an agreement or arrangment. You are strongly advised that you and he should sit down with an attorney (e.g. a landlord-tenant attorney) he can listen to the situation in detail and draft an agreement custom to your needs.

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