My ex-boyfriend and my father bought a two family house back several years ago, when me and him were still together. I live in the house as well but only their names are on the deed and mortgage because I was unemployed at the time. My father put $30,000 towards the down payment while my ex contributed absolutely nothing. Also, we made some upgrades and repairs which both me and my father contributed towards financially. My dad put at least $5000 towards building a kitchen upstairs and he also paid the closing costs which were a few thousand dollars. I can’t remember the exact amount. Now my ex did put in some money but it was nowhere near our contribution. Like I stated earlier he put no money down or towards closing.
Ok, so we broke up about 2 years ago (1 year after moving into the house) and he’s been living in the house off and on for that time period. During that time he didn’t always pay his portion of the mortgage or pay in full. For the past 3 or 4 months he hasn’t been living here at all. He stated that he could no longer pay anything towards the mortgage because he couldn’t afford it and had other bills to pay. We don’t agree with this. So for the past 3 or 4 months he hasn’t been paying a dime and before that he was paying less than what we originally agreed on. He has been bothering me every day and wants to come up with options for him to get off the deed and mortgage. He is saying that he wants us to give him $20,000 to buy him out but I don’t believe he is entitled to that amount. I don’t know where he got that amount from.
My question is, what is he really entitled to financially as a co-owner of the house? He hasn’t contributed much financially but insists he is owed something. We want to re-finance and put the house under my name and my father’s name but since there is no equity in the house we can’t borrow any money to pay him even if we wanted to. It would only reduce our monthly mortgage payments. The plan is to get him off the deed and mortgage and put me on as the co-owner. I was told that the only way to do this is to re-finance. We do not want to sell the house either. I just want to know my options at this point and what he is entitled to. I appreciate any help. This situation has been unbearable and I just would like it resolved. Thanks in advance for your response.
Most likely, your ex-boyfriend and your father are joint tenants on the deed. This means that your ex has as equal a right to use and possess the property as your father does. It is possible that they had a different deed set up, where your boyfriend has a lesser “interest” in the property (a tenant in common). In either case, your boyfriend’s interest in the property today is the same as the day he signed the closing papers with your father. He can transfer his interest to you, but are two catches to this approach. One is that your ex-boyfriend will need to consent to this transfer, and that may mean paying him off. The second is that any transfer of ownership (even if it’s just solely to your father) may trigger an acceleration clause in the mortgage, meaning that the whole balance would be due in full.
Unfortunately, you probably do not have a way to get your ex off of the deed without paying him off and refinancing. It doesn’t matter that he did not contribute equally to the maintenance of the house. He has a right to the property. It does sound like your father put some money into some improvements on the house, so you may find that you have more equity than you thought. If that’s the case, you may be able to pull out enough equity in a refinance to pay of the ex-boyfriend and have him transfer his interest to you. Think of it as your dad and ex selling the house to your dad and yourself. It sounds like, at this point, you’ll need to negotiate with him to find a solution that works for both of you. Consulting a property attorney can help you to know what your precise options are.