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Unmarried Couples – Always See a Lawyer Before Moving In Together!

Wise unmarried couples who move in together always seek legal advice to ensure that their property rights are both clear and protected. In one case where that sadly did not happen, a woman who claimed that her boyfriend had promised her half of his £660,000 farmhouse was left without a penny.

FarmhouseThe woman had performed a great deal of heavy and laborious work in renovating the property into a desirable family home, complete with livery stables. Whilst house hunting together, she claimed that her boyfriend had explicitly assured her, over a pub lunch, that she would have an equal share in any property purchased and that she would be guaranteed a home for life.

However, she contributed nothing to the purchase price or the mortgage, and had lived in the property rent free. He paid for the renovations and the farmhouse was held in his name alone. The property was purchased for £660,000, but was sold by the boyfriend for £967,500 following the acrimonious end of the relationship. She subsequently launched proceedings, claiming a half share of that profit.

In dismissing her claim, however, the High Court found that the boyfriend had never, either by his words or actions, agreed to any property sharing arrangement or to her living in the property for as long as she wished. She had worked on renovating the property, not as a money-making or commercial venture, but in the entirely natural, but ultimately forlorn, belief that her long-term future lay with her boyfriend and that they would have children together.



 
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