If I paid for earnest money on a house but my ex-boyfriend put the title in only his name, can I reclaim that money?

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If I paid for earnest money on a house but my ex-boyfriend put the title in only his name, can I reclaim that money?

I lived with my ex-boyfriend in a house he owned. We were together when he bought it a year ago. When he needed $15,000 for earnest money, he didn’t have checks available, so I wrote one to the title company. I have the cashed check image in my bank account. He didn’t put my name on the deed or mortgage (and he never consulted me about whether or not to add my name) but he never gave back the money. Could I sue him for the money?

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

Ron Moore / Ron L. Moore, P.A.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes. As long as he doesn't claim that it was a gift and you are believed over him  or prove your case by the greater weight of the evidence your judgment would be a lien against the property. The statute of Frauds requires an agreement for an interest in real estate to be in writing  but you may be able to show and impose what is called a constructive trust as to the property purchased. Your specific arrangement and what was or was not disussed and said could make a difference and I suggest you consult an attorney who handles real estate litigation. 


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