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insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 55590
Experience:  Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.
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My husband and I gave my daughter and son-in-law a down payment

Customer Question

My husband and I gave my daughter and son-in-law a down payment on their house when they bought it and paid for materials and labor to have the garage converted into a living space for us. My husband died 2 years ago and I have been visiting with friends a lot out of town and back to the apartment once a week. My daughter wants to rent out my apartment for short term rentals and I said no. Last night I got an email saying she had shown the apartment and had possible rental for April-June and what did I want to do with my possessions! Do I have any legal rights to stop this?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  insearchoftheanswer replied 5 years ago.
Good morning. She can not move you out without getting an eviction order from the court. In order to get to that point, she would have to first give you at least 30 days written notice. Then, if you don't leave, the law does not allow the landlord to forcibly evict a tenant without obtaining an eviction order from a court. What that means is that if termination date comes and you don't move out, she cannot simply change the locks or throw your things out. Rather, what she has to do is to first deliver a 5-Day Notice to quit...which basically says you have 5 days to leave or face eviction. But, if you still haven't left, she must then file a petition with the court for an eviction order. Depending upon the court's docket, it can take anywhere from about 15 days to a couple of months to get a hearing. You would get a notice of this hearing and it is at that hearing that you would contest her attempt to terminate your tenancy. You can overcome the fact that you don't have your agreement in writing based on the concept of promissory estoppel, detrimental reliance, and unjust enrichment. You relied upon the verbal agreement, performed based on such reliance, and because they defaulted, such reliance is now to your detriment. Because: i) you have partial performance based upon the mutual promises, ii) you relied upon such promises to perform, iii) their failure to pay you would be to your detriment, and iv) would result in them being unjustly enriched, it overcomes the legal requirement that the agreement be in writing.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am co-owner of the property as I provided the down payment and invested @ 40,000 in renovating the garage into an apartment for my husband and I. I am very sorry to say that this situation is going down hill fast. The only way I can stop them from renting you say sounds like I am a tenant? In the event they decide to sell this property, do I have any legal way to re-coup the money I put into it as the garage was supposed to be my home until my death or I surrended it to them.
Expert:  insearchoftheanswer replied 5 years ago.
In that event, I would file a suit for the return of your money due to their breach of your contract. You cause of action would be the same as for the lease.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There is no written contract, it was verbal. Trust between daughter and mother which is worth what???? My name is not on their mortage or any other document. I am calling myself co-owner because of my investment. I need clarification on that.
Expert:  insearchoftheanswer replied 5 years ago.
I understand, but you will contest this on the same promissory estoppel and detrimental reliance concepts to enforce the verbal contract.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I saw you are in Texas. Is this Va law as well?


Expert:  insearchoftheanswer replied 5 years ago.
Yes....I premised this on Va. law.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am overwhelmed by al of this. Nor your problem. This sounds like it would cost me a lot in legal fees and is there any way to predict my outcome? I live on Social Security only as income.
Expert:  insearchoftheanswer replied 5 years ago.

Unfortunately, it will be expensive and I can't assure the outcome. It's going to be a very difficult case.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I thank you very much for your advice and will do the accept thing, but I wanted to thank you. If you ever consider doing what my husband and I did-put everything we had into what we did, I suggest not doing it. It got him a few more years by being near better medical care so I am glad for that. I can't use the word on here that describes what has happened to me from this. Thank you again for your advice.
Expert:  insearchoftheanswer replied 5 years ago.

Thanks so much for the kind words. It's been a pleasure working with you and I wish I could have provided better news. But, I will keep you in my prayers and I know God is always good! Take care.