If you own a house and
your partner moves in, what should you do or not do to protect your investment
Take a celebrity
couple as an example – the nation’s favourite Cheryl Tweedy and her ex, One
Direction star Liam Payne. They dated, she
apparently moved into Liam’s house in Woking, they had a baby then, sadly, they
What should Liam have
done at the start of the relationship and before their split to avoid Cheryl
gaining an interest in his old bachelor pad?
Liam should have made
it clear at the start that whilst he was happy for Cheryl to live there, it
would not be on the basis that she was then going to acquire a share in the property
and it would remain his house.
He should have
continued to make the mortgage payments himself and all of the “bricks and
mortar” costs, ideally from his own bank account rather than the joint
account. He could have shared the actual
personal costs of living, such as the Sainsbury’s bills and the joint holidays,
but he should not have accepted any money from Cheryl towards the house, such
as the decorating or maybe the added security measures to keep out the
In addition, had Cheryl
then said she wanted to build a luxury pool complex to rival even Simon
Cowell’s house and was happy to pay for it herself – Liam should not have let
her commission this work. That would be
a contribution and would then give her a foot in the door to claim an interest
in the property.
Of course it would
have rather dampened the romance for Liam to keep reminding Cheryl that she did
not have an interest in his home. But if he was keen to keep his finances
separate and avoid litigation later on, then it he needed to set out some hard
facts and stick to his script.
A healthy relationship
should be able to cope with such conversations and after all, if a new partner
wants to acquire a share in the house, it is not unreasonable to expect them to
contribute and then devote the time to sitting down and working out the exact
details of joint ownership.
I support the
Resolution campaign on awareness of cohabitation rights #ABetterWay