Does my father’s girlfriend have any rights tohis property if she has paid certain house related expenses?

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Does my father’s girlfriend have any rights tohis property if she has paid certain house related expenses?

My parents have been separated for 18 years, and are still married. My mother left the property, on her own, and moved into another home (abandonment papers were filed back in 1995). My father’s girlfriend has lived in and contributed to the property (ex: making mortgage and utility payments). Does she have any legal rights to the property, such as squatters rights?

Asked on January 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is not an easy question to give guidance on in this type of forum.  First, one would need to read the abandonment papers and any orders or decrees that were issued that relate to the property in question.  What I am going to assume here is that the property is legally your Father's only and that his name alone is on the deed (I doubt that a different scenario would give a different result anyway).  In order for one to have "squatters rights"  or as is also known as "adverse possession" in the legal world, the use of the property must be "open and notorious and against claim of right" as a general statement.  I am assuming that you father's girlfriend was invited to live there so I doubt that she would fit that bill.  I would term her payments a form of "rent" rather than a right of ownership.  As long as she is not on the deed I would not worry.  But seek legal confirmation in your area with the appropriate paperwork in hand.  Good luck.


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