My son and I purchased a home less than two years ago. He bugged out and left me to pay all the bills including the mortgage. I can no longer afford the house on my own, and he has agreed to sell it. However he wants his full share of half the proceeds. Do I have any recourse to recoup the extra money I paid out? It amounts to about $4000 or do I have to seek an attorney?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Do you and your son hold title as tenants in common? There are rules that govern reimbursement for expenditures for improvements and property taxes on property held in tenancy in common. A right of contribution exists in favor of one cotenant who pays liens or other taxes against the entire property. If the property is income producing, meaning it is rented out to third parties, those expenditures may be deducted from the rents and profits on the property. The paying cotenant is also entitled to an equitable lien on the shares of the nonpaying cotenants for the proportional amount of any expenditures.
Cotenants are also entitled to contribution for the cost of repairs. If one cotenant makes improvements on common property, however, the paying cotenant cannot assert a lien for contribution unless the nonpaying tenant assented to the improvements.