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Cohabiting - how do you pay "rent" to your partner when he owns the house?

(92 Posts)
yayforspring Sun 21-Apr-13 23:22:32

Hi all

Im hoping to move in with OH in about 6 months. He has just bought a house and is expecting me to contribute, and I was planning on doing so. I currently pay £540 inc rent and bills in a shared house. His mortgage on a 2 bed place is £1300 a month plus bills (prob £250). Im not sure how I should pay him. I thought initially I would just pay him £540, to keep outgoings the same for me, as its not my property. I wouldnt get a whole room to myself as such although if we were renting together I'd be paying a lot more. I would be technically paying off his mortgage, but if i dont contribute I'd have no say in things and wouldnt feel it was my home. He wants a bit more than £540, i think about £600. I wondered whether I could just pay him £540, and then pay the rest of my half of everything into a savings account for us to use in the future if we stay together (ie for the next house) so that things were really equal. Anyone else in the same situation? what is the normal thing to do?

Purplemonster Mon 22-Apr-13 00:02:12

I pay half the 'rent' (slightly complicated in that the house is owned by boyfriends parents so it's like a mortgage but he's effectively buying it from them not the bank) it happened to work out the same as what I was paying before. He pays the bills but I buy most of the food, he pays for any home improvement things like tiles/patio slabs etc since it is his house. If we split up I would have no right to the house but see what I pay as rent so no loss there. We didn't end up splitting bills as well as he warns more than me anyway. Not sure how its all going to work now we're having a baby and I'm losing my income but it had worked ok for the past two years!

yayforspring Mon 22-Apr-13 00:07:09

Hmm I can see the argument for paying completely equally now too. If I dont then I wont be an equal in the relationship. Argh.

augustrain Mon 22-Apr-13 00:08:45

Would you still be happy to have no rights to the house if you split up after you have your baby Purplemonster? It hardly seems fair that you and your child could be left homeless just because the relationship ended.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 22-Apr-13 00:08:55

I don't like turning personal relationships into financial ones. I agree with lottie's post, actually. Your DP seems keen to get someone in to start paying rent, either a lodger or yourself. Is that what is pushing this move?

I personally wouldn't move in with someone if these were my options. You're currently paying x for your own room somewhere, I don't see a reason to pay more than x to share a room. (yes I realise I'm phrasing that from a purely financial viewpoint but that is what this is coming down to)

yayforspring Mon 22-Apr-13 00:09:46

If I was made redundant Im fairly sure he would let me stay there rent free, I would do the same for him. He could always rent out the 2nd bedroom if needs be and have 3 of us live in the flat. We arent at the stage of sharing finances, its not just him thats me as well not wanting to complicate things until engaged or married one day

lottiegarbanzo Mon 22-Apr-13 00:13:14

What you've just said in effect is he wants it both ways - you pay towards the mortgage but don't get any stake in the flat. You retain an impermanent status but pay him, is if in a permanent arrangement, for the privilege.

That is more unfair than you staying for free for a while but paying half the bills. At least doing that reduces his costs and no-one's gained or lost anything more permanent from the other. He could of course break up with you, keep your contribution to his mortgage and throw you out in a trice - unlike any tenant paying rent, with a contract.

Have you pointed that out? 'Oh but I would never do that' works both ways. It's a basic trust issue. He doesn't think you are moving in, in order to live rent free, so it's just a trial stage towards a more permanent situation, eventually with pooled resources.

He needs to decide if he wants a lodger or a girlfriend.

A TiC agreement can cover what you like. We added up all the fees as well as the purchase price and calculated percentages of that total.

yayforspring Mon 22-Apr-13 00:13:14

I would ideally prefer us to rent, but he has a really good mortgage and if he doesnt buy then he would lose it. He is happy to have a lodger rather than me to pay rent so that wouldnt be the reason for me to move in, no. I can see that its not ideal circumstances to move in under, but i dont want to buy a house with someone I havent lived with before and Im sure he feels the same

yayforspring Mon 22-Apr-13 00:16:54

I suppose I could ask him to sign a contract to state he would have to give me 28 days notice if he wanted me to leave

olgaga Mon 22-Apr-13 00:20:21

I can see the argument for paying completely equally now too. If I dont then I wont be an equal in the relationship.

Two things. One is that you can never be equal in this relationship no matter how much you pay if you don't have equal rights to a share of the asset you're contributing to.

Second is that an equal contribution for you would be the same proportion of your earnings in percentage terms. Not the exact same amount. The same amount would mean you were paying proportionately more than him - again with no right to a share of the asset.

I'd think very carefully if I were you, and let him get a lodger if that's what he wants.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 22-Apr-13 00:22:44

I do understand why mortgage makes more sense than rent for him and why you want to try living together to see if it works out, most people do. I suppose I'd suggest that, whatever you do, you agree it's a six month trial, then review at that point.

NumTumDeDum Mon 22-Apr-13 00:23:54

I think you have misunderstood the concept of a cohabitation agreement. It is not an agreement that the non owner has no share. It is quite simply a legally binding document setting out what you have both agreed. You need independent advice here.

Are you really happy to enable your partner to afford a larger property by paying half the bills? The flip side is that by doing this you are not paying into your own property. There is, if you like, an opportunity cost here. Imagine this arrangement continued for five years. The equity in the property goes up. You have improved the property in good faith by decorating etc. You have some savings but they have not matched the increase in equity that your partner alone is benefitting from. You then break up. You take your savings and your personal belongings. There is now lots of joint furniture. He says it was purchased in his name. You paid money towards the bills which meant he could afford to buy the furniture/white goods/car etc. You can't prove ownership.

All these things can be prevented by agreement in advance. My view is that if he would rather get a lodger to pay or treat you financially like a lodger instead of agreeing that you should contribute to the mortgage and receive a share of the equity as a percentage of your cobtribution then it is not the time to move in.

Please don't fall into the trap of thinking it will all be ok. You can make it ok now, please get some proper advice.

PennyPennyPenny Mon 22-Apr-13 00:24:07

Why do you have to move in now?

Could you not leave it for say 6 months, let him get a lodger or manage on his own

Be an overnight guest for a few months and see how you both feel then

olgaga Mon 22-Apr-13 00:24:48

Do you have savings yourself to fall back on if it all goes wrong?

Purplemonster Mon 22-Apr-13 00:34:05

August - if we broke up now with a baby involved I still wouldn't see that as just cause for stealing half his house since he had it before I lived here - I'd expect him to pay some maintenance so me and his child could afford to rent our own place but unless we get married as far as I'm concerned it's his house.
OP you need to do what feels right to you, cohabiting finances are always difficult to sort out but as long as you don't end up more out of pocket than your current circumstances then I think it's fair enough to contribute and just see it as your share of the rent even though its a mortgage though in your circumstances I certainly wouldn't want to be offering him more money than you're currently paying on rent otherwise you're worsening your financial state to move in with him which doesn't make sense.

olgaga Mon 22-Apr-13 00:47:14


I'd expect him to pay some maintenance so me and his child could afford to rent our own place

You do know, don't you, that he would only be required to pay you 15% of his net weekly income?

Hope he's on a good salary!

Thistledew Mon 22-Apr-13 00:51:11

I would add a caveat to my earlier post that DP moved in with me with a definite plan that if all went well, we would move and buy a property together after 6 months. He did suggest us buying and moving in together as our first experience of living together, but I wanted to trial moving in together to start with before we bought together. We did in fact stick with the plan and bought our house together 8 months after him moving in with me.

On the other hand, EXP, despite the fact that we had a deed of trust agreement for the flat that I owned because he had contributed to the deposit, he never contributed to the mortgage or bills (his contribution was supposed to be that he would take 3 months off work to do some major renovation work then would get a job and contribute financially). He never finished the work or got a job, so it was up to me to keep the mortgage payments so that we didn't lose the house and the equity with it. It was a real sign to me that he was not prepared to be an equal partner in the relationship.

FairPhyllis Mon 22-Apr-13 01:30:01

I think if you want to live together while splitting everything as he proposes then you need to rent together.

You would be paying more than you currently do in order to have a shared room and no security of tenure while paying off his mortgage for him and getting no share of the equity. That is a fundamentally inequitable situation.

What he's asking for is a situation where he in fact has more economic power over you than any landlord could ever have, because he gets equity at your expense while being able to chuck you out at any time. Plus, this is an intimate relationship, not a business relationship, and it's inappropriate for one partner to have that kind of power over the other. He needs to either accept that part of the trade off for the convenience of having his girlfriend living with him is that he recognises that there are risks involved for you too, or you become tenants in common.

TBH if someone couldn't see that I was potentially making myself vulnerable by moving in with them and make allowances for that it would probably make me think carefully about moving in with them, if not about the relationship itself.

CabbageLeaves Mon 22-Apr-13 07:41:19

Have a look here Citizens Advice

You can live together but since you are not going the whole hog of sharing then you need to be business like about the rental situation.

Otherwise he could just chuck you out with no protection. Think about what you would want if renting. Then arrange that

Similar financial outgoing
Contract setting out terms

CabbageLeaves Mon 22-Apr-13 07:43:32

And here more advice

lilystem Mon 22-Apr-13 07:56:52

If you both believe this relationship is going to end in marriage why don't you split the bills now and you offer to save the equivalent rent money. Then when you marry you could pay off a lump sum of the mortgage and add your name to the deeds. In your situation by paying him rent I would be concerned that he is increasing his personal assets whilst you are not. I can totally understand him not wanting to risk his assets until marriage but in the meantime you should not stop earning or saving towards your own assets.

Freddiemisagreatshag Mon 22-Apr-13 07:59:21

You really need to go to a solicitor and get legal advice.

NotGoingOut17 Mon 22-Apr-13 08:13:03

To be honest his attitude would make me seriously question the relationship.. he really does want his cake! i would in no no circumstances pay anything other than half the bills unless i had a share in the house.
if you are to pay him anything the fairest way would be half your current rent.. that way you would.both be 270 a month better off..why should you gain nothing whilst hrs get 600 a month! he is massively taking through piss...2 years done the line you ve given him 14k! with nothing to show for it if you split up.
i have been bf less than you.. almost year now. he is looking buy and whilst i can't contribute to deposit or match his.income we ve agreed that i will get a % of house should we split on return for paying towards mortgage payments

yes its risky to get a mortgage with someone so quickly but not as risky as being left with nothing.

NotGoingOut17 Mon 22-Apr-13 08:15:27

apologies for huge.number.of typos in previous post... bloody phone

Bowlersarm Mon 22-Apr-13 08:23:54

if you rented as you say would rather do, then if you broke up after 2/3 years or whatever then you both start from scratch again.

If you pay him £600 towards his mortgage and you break up after 2/3 years or whatever it is only YOU who starts from scratch. Not only does he get to stay living in the flat, but you've got him nicely along on the property ladder by helping pay his mortgage.

Don't contribute any more than you feel you should, and reappraise the situation frequently.

QuintessentialOHara Mon 22-Apr-13 08:30:00

I dont think you are going to be equal in this relationship.

He can afford a mortgage and a house, and you rent a room in a flatshare. He wants you to move in with him, increase your rent, which you pay him.

He will have a surplus of £600 every month, you have higher rent, and possibly more bills to pay? You pay down on his mortgage, and you dont get to save up money for your own.

I would frankly stay put and save money so I could buy my own home.

He sees you as a financial investment to line his pockets, he is not moving you in because of love. It seems.

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