I invested $25,000 in repairs in my girlfriend’s house, and contribute 50% of the mortgage — but I’m not on the deed. What can I do?

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Dear Quentin,

I am 66 years old and moved in with my girlfriend who has her own house. I invested $25,000 in repairs, and made half of the mortgage payment for the past five years.

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My name is on the refinance mortgage, but not on the title deed.

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What happens on his death if there is no will? She has three children from her deceased husband. I believe that home should go to me. What should I do?


Dear Partner,

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If your name is on the mortgage but not on the property deed, you are technically a co-signer on the mortgage — and you are responsible for paying the loan — but you are not a co-owner of the property. It’s an odd place, especially considering the amount already spent on repairs. Don’t spend $25,000 on a house you don’t own.

Assuming that he agrees to keep you on the mortgage, it would be more beneficial to keep you on the deed from a tax point of view. She could have used a quitclaim deed. These are sometimes erroneously referred to as “quick claim” functions, perhaps because of their convenience. They were designed to make the transfer of assets both smooth and convenient.

They are usually used as gifts. “Quitclaim deeds emerged at a time when real-estate transactions needed to be as fast and efficient as possible,” According to lawyer Barbara Craig, “The California Gold Rush is the best example of an era in which a deed of leave was required to transfer property rights quickly and with minimal documentation.”

However, you don’t say (a) how much the house is worth, (b) how long he has owned the house and (c) how much you both put down as a down payment. Paying off half the mortgage for five years doesn’t mean you’re entitled to 50% ownership, even if you consider it fair. You’ve been painted a corner as far as renovations are concerned.

Yours is not the first letter I received with the problem of one person on the mortgage, the second on the deed. This reader wrote that her husband claimed that he feared she would divorce him if he put her name in the deed of the house he had bought before marriage. (They had been married for three decades, so this was something that affected their married life.)

This woman had the opposite problem, to say that her estranged husband was on the deed but not on the mortgage, and—this is perhaps the least surprising part of this story—she was the one who needed to pay off the mortgage. took the responsibility for years. In his reckoning, it appears that he was tricked into that particular arrangement.

Given that you are not married, and you have no ownership rights in the house, whether or not you have been placed on the deed is now left to your partner. Why are you on mortgage but not on deed? Did you consciously agree to this? If yes, why? And did your girlfriend know what she was doing? If so, you are counting on his goodwill to connect you.

check out The Maniast Private Facebook Group, where we seek answers to life’s most thorny money issues. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you’d like to learn more about, or peruse the latest Manifest column.

Dhani is sorry that he cannot answer the questions personally.

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