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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33708
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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5 years ago we moved into my father in laws house under a

Customer Question

5 years ago we moved into my father in laws house under a verbal agreement that the house was ours and some point would be put into our names and we were to treat it like ours. We have put probably 50K in repairs and upgrades into the house over the past 5 years. My father in law is now backing out of the agreement and trying to have us purchase and I'm OK with it except trying to sell my rental before I can purchase this house an's now being told they want is out by Jan 1 is we dont Complete the sale. What are my legal rights when it comes to all the money we have put into the house and rights to be able to stay in the house
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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There is a legal doctrine called the "Statute of Frauds" that says that any type of agreement regarding real estate has to be in writing in order to be enforceable. So a verbal agreement to give you the house wouldn't be legally enforceable normally. It would have to be in writing.

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However, there is a concept called "detrimental reliance" which is where A takes a position that B relies on. A is later prevented from changing their position if it would harm B.

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So if they tried to back out of any agreement that you had with them, you could at the very least sue them for breach of an oral contract and argue detrimental reliance and sue for the money that you have put into the house as damages.

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But with the house being in father in law's name, he legally owns it and could terminate your tenancy and evict you through the courts if he gave you a proper legal notice under your state's law and filed a formal eviction action in court.

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You would have to file a countersuit for damages and seek an injunction preventing him from evicting you until the matter of the house gift/sale was resolved in court.

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thanks

Barrister

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