What is a joint tenant’s liability regarding a house that they move out of?

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What is a joint tenant’s liability regarding a house that they move out of?

My boyfriend and I bought a house 27 years ago which is in both our names; we have an extra lot in both of our names held as a tenancy in common (I think it is called). He has become very very difficult to live with, not physically abusive but verbally. If I leave but still pay the real estate taxes, am I responsible for maintenance and bills that he incurs still living in the house?

Asked on March 27, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are responsible for the maintenance and bills in some or all of the following ways:
1) If any bills/accounts are in your name as well as his (e.g. if the electric bill is in both your names), the vendor or utility can go after you for the money, whether or not you live there.
2) Your boyfriend could sue you for you share of any costs or bills--if you're not living there, a court might make you pay less then half, even much less, of certain costs, since he, and not you is benefiting by the expenditures and therefore he should pay them--but this is a very subjective issue and you can't be sure how a court would rule.
3) If neither of you pay the maintenance costs and the house is damaged, etc., they reduces its value, which obviously hurts you if you are part owner.


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