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Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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I just want to know a brief explanation of my rights here

Customer Question

I just want to know a brief explanation of my rights here please... I know my explanation is long.. but I want to be sure you have all the details..
Basically I've been in a 6 year common-law relationship. I have paid for many things during this relationship. Her name is ***** ***** mortgage but I have paid toward that expense. 3 days ago she told me that all along I've been paying her rent and I have to get out of the house by the end of April because she's selling the house in June and moving into another house she owns to take care of her mother. Basically I lose everything and I'm on the street.
I had no idea this was coming at all. We were never in a rental agreement, she has never provided me with rental receipts. No rental income nor rental expenses were ever claimed on our taxes. The assumption was always I was paying my share of expenses plus the mortgage.
I have many many many witnesses to say we were indeed a couple and that this was not just somebody letting somebody else live with them. I also have witnesses to all the home improvement projects I've worked on over the years that she is telling me she is not going to pay me for.
There's a ton of information here to give you but I wanted to give you the facts in brief to be aware of any basic rights that I'm entitled to.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry for your difficult situation.

In Ontario common law spouses do not have property rights the way legally married spouses do. Therefore, there is a presumption that your spouse owns the house that is in her name and so is soley entitled to the full equity in the home. However, you can rebut this presumption and claim an interest in the home if you can prove that you contributed to the value of the home.

So, if you want to be able to sue successfully for an interest in the value of this home you would have to show what contributions you made to the home. You would add up what you paid towards the mortgage and you would also add what you paid towards any improvements. As well, if you made some of the improvements by hand you would receive credit for that work as well. Unfortunately, you would then have to subtract what you would pay for your share of fair market value rent if you are renting this home because the home is legally hers as it is in your spouse's name.

If at the end of those calculations you find that you have contributed to the value of the home you will be able to successfully sue for an interest in it. You would not get the home but your spouse would have to pay you a sum equal to what your interest is based on the equity in the home.

Does that clarify the situation the law?

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