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“My credit was not good so my house was bought in my sons’ name. I pay all the taxes, up keep, renovations, bills and mortgage payments. He has paid nothing for about 9 years. He had to move in with me about 3 years ago and he doesn’t want to help pay anything on the bills or the mortgage. He says he shouldn’t have to pay anything because his name is on the mortgage papers. What are my options if I want to sell the house? Can he take my house from me?”
This sort of situation is precisely why it is so critical to have a written co-ownership agreement whenever you have an ownership situation that is not completely straightforward. Make no mistake, you do not own this house. You can not sell it. It is not your house, it is his. If push came to shove, you might have the right to reimbursement for all the money you’ve put into the house (taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance, etc.), and depending on your local law you might even be able to leverage that into a partial ownership interest. Maybe. Or maybe he’ll convince a judge that all of those payments were just in lieu of rent, and you get nothing. If you want to get your son’s attention, point out what will happen if you STOP paying the mortgage. Unless he starts making payments, he will get the late notices, he will be foreclosed against, and his credit will be damaged, not yours.