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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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about 7 years ago my son in law inherited a ranch that had

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about 7 years ago my son in law inherited a ranch that had been in his family since 1843. It had been neglected and grown up for several years before that. Four years ago, He told me I could live in it for the rest of my life. (I am 73 years old) Never have to move. I only had to pay the taxes and insurance, and keep it up, which I have done. I sold my home and used the money from that sale to make the ranch workable again. Approximately 30 to 40 thousand dollars. New water lines, faucets , fence repairs, corrals, built a loafing shed, mowed several acres several times,(bought a tractor and mower to do this) etc. Now he and my daughter are getting a divorce, due mostly to his alcoholism and drug use. He has moved in the house with me. He drinks a lot when he is here and he smokes marijuana and smells the house up. I need to move. Is there any way I can recover any of the money I have spent here?
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

His promise to allow you to stay on premises for life, was it in writing? As for making renovations, was that ever put in writing where he agreed to cover some or all of your expenditures?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Nothing was ever put in writing.

Thank you for your follow-up.

In that situation my answer would likely not be very favorable, so I ask that you do not blame the proverbial messenger.

There are two conditions under which you could be eligible to obtain some sort of compensation, and both require writing. First, if he formally agreed, in writing, to reimburse you. The way current law is written and followed, if a tenant like yourself, even a tenant who is not paying rent makes 'improvements' or repairs to the premises, the landlord, by virtue of owning the land, owns the improvements. So any changes made are something that he benefits from being the landlord, but does not have to pay you for as there was nothing in writing either requiring you to make repairs, or assuring you that you would be reimbursed if you make those changes.

The second condition is if you were given a formal 'life estate' interest in the property, also in writing, and in it the other party promised to make repairs. This likewise has to be in writing where the other party makes a formal promise to reimburse or maintain. Anything else makes any changes or improvements that you make something for which you cannot later seek additional costs.

I am truly sorry and I wish I had a different answer for you.

Good luck.

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