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Hi, thanks for your question. Cohabitating couples have no right or legal interest to property that is not in their name. However if your partner was able to prove that there was an intention to create a share of the property due to his contribution then he can apply to court for this. It may therefore be helpful to have a formal signed and witnessed agreement that specifically states that your partner is not entitled to a share of the property and there is no intention to create a share for him.
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Yes, a formal contract and payment for work can be used to show that intention is only limited to his services and there is no entitlement to the property. The contract should be the same as if you were to have hired a third party to do the work.
In relation to cohabitation, this would be if he treated the property as his home, so there is no limit on number of nights - it will be seen based on the circumstances. But again, cohabitation in itself raises no legal entitlement to the property.