Q: My partner says he doesn’t ever want to get married but he has asked me whether I will move in with him. He owns the house where he lives and he says he will carry on paying the mortgage and bills and I can buy the food. He says if we are still together in two years, and I start contributing to the mortgage then, I could have a share of the house. Would this give me any legal rights though? I trust him at the moment and I believe he means well, but I have concerns that if things between us should change in the future I won’t have any kind of protection and I may end up having to start over in a different situation with nothing.
A: As the title deeds are currently clear as to ownership you have no rights of ownership or tenure. If in the future, your partner does agree to you becoming a joint owner, you should have the ownership formally registered at the Land Registry through a Solicitor. If your partner never agrees to you formally owning the property, you could over time create an interest in the property and you may have a case under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act and might be able to convince a Court that the property should be sold and you receive a share. To create such an interest you will need to have contributed financially to the property, have made a physical improvement to the property or had the property promised to you. Cases such as these are very complex and legal costs can be expensive. You should consult with a family chancery lawyer before proceeding.
Article April 2019
Linda Hill is based in our Oswestry office and was previously a partner with Stevens Lucas.
A Partner specialising in Family and Matrimonial Law