Is a former roommate entitled to half of the profit from a sale of the home long after they’ve moved out?

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Is a former roommate entitled to half of the profit from a sale of the home long after they’ve moved out?

My fiance bought our home with his sister years ago. He has since gotten the title/deed in his name and refinanced in his name all after she moved out of the home. We have now decided to sell the home and purchase a larger one as we’re expecting a child, and now his sister claims that she is entitled to half of the profit of the sale as repayment for her monetary investments into the house as it is now worth quite a bit more than they originally had purchased it for. I’m wondering if she has a legitimate claim; she’s said she would gladly sue us for the money.

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well congratulations on the upcoming birth of your child and I am sorry that you have to deal with these matters at this point in time. I would speak with a real estate attorney in your area on the matter to confirm my thoughts here. From what you have stated in your question - that the deed to the property has been transferred in to your fiance's name and it has been recorded, correct? - then the property is his to do with as he pleases.  Your sister in law to be may in fact attempt to set aside the transfer on various grounds: fraud, misrepresentation, etc., but unless she has some agreement in writing she may be precluded from asserting any cause of action against her brother.  Agreements relating to real property must be in writing to be valid.  Other wise they violate a law known as the Statute of Frauds.  Good luck.


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