Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

I have a family member (A) just served with a 60 day eviction notice from a sibling (B). This person, A, has lived in the same property for 9 years and provided a $15,000 investment towards the purchase of the property to sibling, B. Has paid the full amount of the monthly mortgage to sibling as requested for that time. Is currently being told that house is not 'clean' and 'sanitary' condition. (Also A is currently filing for state disability)

The property was never listed in person A's name and solely, on paper, belongs to the sibling, B. Sibling, B, refuses to provide details of financials of property and initial investment. Has made claims of keeping the initial investment to 'repair' property after eviction, on what we consider normal wear and tear. Is there any legal recourse for person A under breach of verbal contract laws or other statues in the state of California? Any options to fight the eviction?

Asked on 12/11/12, 9:26 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Yes, indeed, there MAY be a way for A to assert that he/she is a partial (or even 100%!) owner and, as such, to be exempt from eviction. Your question does not provide enough facts to ascertain whether a so-called "purchase-money resulting trust" arose at the time the $15,000 investment was provided, nor what other funds, if any, were used for the down payment. However, there is a legal principle that ownership of real property follows the source of the cash money used to make the down payment.

If you would like a more detailed analysis (free) as to whether A can prevail against B and have a court declare A to be at least a partial owner of the property, please contact me directly with particulars as to how the $15,000 was raised, delivered and used in connection with the house purchase. I would need to know what other funds were used as down-payment, and full details as to any oral or written understandings between A and B as to what the $15,000 was to be used for and with what ultimate result intended.

Purchase-money resulting trust cases are not a slam dunk to plead and prove, and many judges are unaware of the principle. However, it is a way for someone who put up part or all of the purchase price for real estate, but got a smaller (or none) of the legal title, to have a court order correction of record title to reflect the same ownership as the contribution(s) to the down payment would indicate.

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Answered on 12/11/12, 3:12 pm

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