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Unmarried Couples – Take Legal Advice before Moving in Together!

houseIn a decision which illustrates the wisdom of unmarried couples seeking legal advice before their finances become entangled, a man who claimed a stake in his ex-girlfriend’s home after they lived together for five years has failed to convince the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) that he is entitled to a penny.

The man and the woman both had property assets of their own before they moved in together. He had received substantial damages after suffering brain damage in an accident and she had benefited from a divorce settlement. However, when the property was bought for £147,750 in 2004, it was registered in her sole name and she alone was responsible for paying the mortgage.

Following the breakdown of the relationship in 2009, the man insisted that he had an equitable interest in the property. He said that he had contributed cash towards the mortgage repayments and renovation works and had carried out further work on the property in the expectation that they would get married.

However, in dismissing his claim, the FTT found that there had been no common intention that he would have a share in the property. She had paid the mortgage out of her own income and his cash contributions were towards household bills. Work he had carried out on the house and garden had been done out of ‘natural love and affection’ and had not materially added to the property’s value.