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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 29802
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I have lived in my house years and 4 months. I had a verbal

Customer Question

I have lived in my house for 19 years and 4 months. I had a verbal agreement with a woman who is now deceased. Her son has the rights over my home now. I have done major improvements over the past nine years. The house was unlivable when I took possession 19 yrs ago. Can he now just take my home from or do I have a legal course to stay? I have paid all property taxes through the years. Thank you for your help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Without a written agreement that says something different, you are legally a month-to-month tenant. Georgia law says that any agreement to transfer an interest in real estate is ONLY enforceable if it's in a written document. Code of Georgia, Section 13-5-30. That unfortunately means that the son does not have to abide by any verbal agreement you had with his mother.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You do have a legal right to 60 days notice before he can change the terms of your living there or ask you to leave. That includes him asking you to insure the building (which is his responsibility as the owner, not yours). I'm sorry to say that he CAN ask you to move, but he has to give you something in writing 60 days ahead of time to give you time to find a new place.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Paying the taxes unfortunately doesn't confer any special legal status. It would be treated as part of your rent. However, if you've paid ahead for the entire year and you wind up moving, you could sue for a pro-rated refund of taxes paid for after you leave. There also is no right to reimbursement for improvements/repairs you did unless the owner agreed to pay. The statute of limitations on that is only 4 years, which means you'd never be able to go back the entire time you've lived in the house. You'd have the burden of proving what she agreed to pay for.

If you've been making repairs that affect your health and safety, like plumbing, heating, and things like that, you could sue for a refund because state law says those things are the landlord's responsibility.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I am paid for the time I spent answering your question. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.