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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35087
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Legal claim to pre-owning property if relationship breaks do

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My boyfriend and I are thinking of moving in together. We are neither married nor in a civil partnership. He would move into a house that I own; I've got a mortgage for about 1/3 of the house value. I would continue paying the mortgage by myself, as well as paying for any major works on the house (e.g., new kitchen, redecoration etc.). I also own a house (with no mortgage) in my home country (Croatia) which is currently used by my parents. He would bring his car into the relationship and would continue taking care of it. We would split the cost of the bills (utilities, broadband, food, etc.) evenly.

Assuming that we do not sign a cohabitation agreement, I am wondering whether, in case of a relationship breakdown in future, he would have any legal claim to any of my houses. Does my occasional use of his car make any difference to the possibility of a legal claim? If so, how effective or essential are cohabitation agreements in order to prevent any possibilities of legal claims?

Of course I am not starting out with the proposition that we would fall out and end up in court, but I would just like to know what could happen in a worst-case scenario.

Many thanks for your help!



Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you
Provided that you do not allow him to make payments towards the mortgage; or to pay for or actually do and structural alterations that enhance the property; and that you always make it clear that the property is yours alone then your partner will have no claim on it UNLESS you do indeed get married/enter a civil partnership.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your answer! I indeed intend to do the things you say, but I've got a few sub-questions.

- If we get to litigation, how can I prove all these things? Would I need to pull out my bank statements and prove that I paid all mortgage? Could he then argue that, although I made the actual payments, we gave me part of the money? It seems to me that, after living together for a long time, proving who paid for what can be rather difficult, so it would be helpful to know how these things are handled in practical legal cases.

- Would a cohabitation agreement be advisable in the sense that, if it spelled out clearly that the house remains mine after a breakup, it would automatically prevent any possibilities of legal action? (I guess he can always sue, but then I can just pull out the agreement and the case is closed.)

I'm just trying to gauge what additional security would the agreement give me, and thus whether it makes sense to go through the hassle of making one.

Thanks again!


Unless he has paid the mortgage directly - or you clearly could not have afforded it without a contribution - then there is no question of him having a claim
A Cohabitation agreement is always useful as it spells out clearly what you both understand about entitlement and removes the risk of misunderstandings
Clare and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!


You are most welcome - I hope all goes well
Clare and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you