Does paying property tax give ownership?

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Does paying property tax give ownership?

The house belongs to all 5 siblings under the family Trust. We agreed to let one of the sister to live there without paying rent. However, she is responsible for all expenses gas and electric, water, insurance, maintenance/repair… and annual property tax. None of the other siblings will be living with her. We all have our own families. Since this sister, who is living in the house, is paying all the expenses and property tax, does that give her sufficient terms to prove ownership of the house? If so, how many years will she have to accumulate to support her claim as the owner of the house?

Asked on August 14, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, paying taxes does not confer ownership, especially when it is done as part of an agreement to allow her to live there. If anything, it might be considered "rent" (i.e. the payments she makes for the use and possession of the home) making her a tenant of the trust, which means that if you every wanted her out, you'd have to file an eviction action and could only due so if she provided grounds for it (e.g. stopped paying the required bills; damaged the home; etc.).


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