I am buying a property with my Partner, what should I be aware of?
3 April 2018 by Jody Williams
Lots of people mistakenly believe that after a certain period of time living together, an unmarried couple become common law husband and wife and that, if they then separate, the same laws apply to them as if they had actually been married to each other. This is not the case.
If you are thinking about moving in with or buying a house with somebody who you are not married to, there are some questions that you may have e.g. what happens if you contribute more deposit than them? What if I move into a house my Partner owns but pay towards the bills and mortgage, what rights do I have?
We can help guide you in relation to all of these questions and below is a brief summary.
What happens if you contribute more deposit than them?
You may wish to consider entering into a Declaration of Trust which is a legal document recording who owns what shares in the property. For example, if person A contributed a £10,000 deposit and person B contributed £5,000 you could have a Declaration of Trust drafted to say that when the property is sold, the first £5,000 is to go to person A (the difference in the deposits) and that any profit made/any other equity left is to be split 50/50. Alternatively, you could say that person A is entitled to 70% of the sale proceeds and person B, 30%. We can help advise you in relation to the exact terms.
How would the solicitors know that a Declaration of Trust exists when we come to sell the property?
We enter a restriction on the title for the property to show that an agreement is in place (the title would however not set out the personal terms of the agreement, just that one exists). The Solicitor acting on a sale would request to see a copy of the Declaration of Trust so that they could make payments in accordance with the terms on Completion of the sale.
What if I move into a house that my Partner owns but pay towards the bills and mortgage, what rights do I have?
It doesn’t matter how long you live with somebody, you do not acquire the same rights as a married couple. This can have unfair consequences, for example, if you lived with somebody for a number of years and contributed towards the bills, home improvements etc but did not legally own the property, then if that relationship broke down, the person who did not legally own the property would need to prove that they have a financial interest in the property which is more difficult than you might think.
Therefore, if you intend to move in with somebody who already owns a property and you plan on contributing towards the mortgage and/or the household bills, then you may wish to consider preparing a Living Together or Cohabitation Agreement with the assistance of a family lawyer. This would allow you to agree various matters such as how bills and mortgage repayments will be dealt with, who would be responsible for home improvements and most importantly, what should happen if your relationship were to end.
For more information on any of the above matters please contact our Conveyancing team now, call 01206 704043 or email [email protected]
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