Should I have my live in girlfriend sign a lease?

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Should I have my live in girlfriend sign a lease?

I just moved in to a new home I purchased and my girlfriend will be moving in with me. She will be paying half the mortgage and utilities as rent. Should I make her sign a lease? She is not particularly warm to the idea of signing one, however I’m concerned about what rights she may have if we were to ever break up. My name is the only name on the mortgage and the deed, but if she doesn’t sign a lease will she have a claim to the property in the event of a break up? Or will she be treated just as a tenant who can be evicted through normal procedures?

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

She will more than likely be treated as a tenant if you don't have her sign a lease. However, if she signs one she will definitely establish a tenant and not ownership position relative to the house. The aprties intentions will be clear. Without a lease she could try to make some sort of equity claim later down the line sshould you break up. Even if she didn't win a lawsuit she could still file one. And you would have all of the expenses and headaches that that entails. Your instincts are correct here. Better to be safe than sorry.


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