Does my partner's parents payment of his share make them co-owners of our house?

My partner's parents paid his share of the house we recently bought together but there is no documentation of this gift. Does this make them co-owners?

Question: my partner and I recently bought a house and are both named owners on the title deeds as tenants in common with 50/50 shares. His family paid for his half but there is no letter to say it was a gift to him. Are they co-owners, despite not being on the deeds? If things went wrong between us could they ask for their money back? If the answer to that is yes, should my partner sign an agreement that my half is solely mine, in case of any future problems? 

Answer: Holding the property as tenants in common you each own a specific proportion — half each in your case. It appears that, quite sensibly, you have recorded this fact in either a deed of trust or in the transfer document.

You partner's family are not co-owners of the property. Did the payment to your partner by his family take the form of a gift or a loan? This is important. If it is a gift it would be prudent to record this in a document such as a deed of gift. If they lent him the money, it would be advisable for you and your partner to know the terms of the loan, especially any requirements of his family regarding repayment. There could be an issue in the future if they ask for repayment and your partner is not in a position to give them their money back without selling the house in order to do so.

If you are at least aware of any repayment requirements, you can prepare for such an eventuality — for example, you may wish to have an agreement with your partner giving you first option to buy his share of the property should he need to sell his half to raise funds to repay his family.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.
 

What's your problem?
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (www.withyking.co.uk).

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor. 

 


Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty and Facebook

Comments