Q: My partner and I bought a house together six years ago. I put up the £15,000 I inherited from an aunt as the entire deposit. From the outset my partner paid the mortgage as he didn’t contribute to the deposit and earns more than me. I have paid all the household bills. Now he wants to end the relationship and buy me out of the house. He says all he should pay me is the £15,000 I put in because he has paid the mortgage for six years. Is that fair?
A: It does not sound very fair at all, especially as you will probably find the amount you have spent on household bills is much more than you realise. Then there is the question of whether the property has increased in value since you purchased it, and what about interest you may have lost on the £15,000 deposit?
It does not sound as if you had a written agreement drawn up at the time of purchasing the property, which is unfortunate. All unmarried couples who buy a property together should have a Deed of Trust drawn up, setting out what each person owns, who is responsible for paying what and what should happen to the property and distribution of monies if one of them later decides they want to end the relationship.
In a case such as yours where there is an imbalance of contributions, a standard deed of trust would not, however, have addressed the problem. You would instead have needed a ‘floating deed’, whereby instead of apportioning fixed amounts to each party the deed would set out a formula to calculate each owner’s share at the point when the property was sold or one owner bought the other out. It would seem your best option now is to reach agreement on the apportionment of monies through a solicitor.
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