When you live in a property with a partner and contribute to its maintenance by undertaking work or paying for work to it you could believe that you have a financial interest in that property. Without a formal arrangement you could find that you have no security and at risk of being made homeless as the following case demonstrates.
A man had lived with his partner for a number of years in a house that was valued at £300,000 and had been bought before the couple met and was solely in his partner’s name. Those acting for the estate, in this case the dead man’s sister and brother, wanted to repossess the house as they deemed the man to have no right to live there and no claim to the estate.
The judge made a ruling based on the fact that undertakings had been given to the man on the basis that there had been an agreement between the couple on using their joint resources including property and money for mutual benefit. On the basis of this, the man had undertaken significant work on the property believing that he would be secure based on the promises made by the deceased, several years before he died.
The judge directed that the house should be sold and the money shared 50/50 by the estate and the man, because after the history of the relationship it would be unfair to leave him with nothing. The man was liable for rent for the period between his partner’s death and the sale of the property.
No matter how genuine promises are or undertakings given without formalisation they mean very little and it is imperative you consult a solicitor to secure your position.
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