Can my brother request rent from me after living in my mother’s house for 6 years if he is only a co-owner?

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Can my brother request rent from me after living in my mother’s house for 6 years if he is only a co-owner?

My mother passed away 4 years ago. Before she passed away she signed the house over to my sister and brother. They are co-owners. I had a verbal agreement with my mother and sister to live in the house and pay all of the monthly bills and do the maintenance of the house. Can my brother (Co-owner) request rent from me after 6 years without the agreement from my sister? And threaten to sue me if I don’t pay.

Asked on July 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your mother gave you permission to live in the house she owned under the terms you state and you abided by the terms, then you would not owe any of your siblings for past claimed rent as of th time title to the property was transferred to your siblings by your mother.

If your sister who is now a co-owner of the property confirms the prior agreement with your mother and her to live in the house and pay all monthly bills and do maintenance on the house for no rent before she took title and afterwards, then your brother who now wants rent from you would have a hard time proving that you owe his share of rent for the home.

I presume you have no written agreement with anyone for terms of a set monthly rental for the home at any time or written demands for rent payment?

In short, your brother can request rent from you, but under the facts presented, he would have a hard time winning a lawsuit for back rent especially if your sister as current co-owner verifies your story. Your brother would have some statute of limitation issues for back rent over the past six years.

Good luck.


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