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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?

badguider Mon 22-Apr-13 08:36:01

When I moved in with my DH (bf at the time) he was adamant that living with him wouldn't make me worse off. So I paid him what I'd been paying before.
I didn't have an equal stake in the flat and he paid all the maintenance and furniture. If it had gone wrong I'd have moved out no worse off than when I arrived or if I'd been in his second bedroom as a lodger. That's how I wanted it and worked for us.

I don't think there's a 'right' answer. Some people will say he shouldn't ask you for anything 'if he loves you' and others will say everything should be equal. It's up to you what you're happy with.

expatinscotland Mon 22-Apr-13 08:47:06

'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'

So basically it's keep him sweet whilst compromising yourself financially big time! VERY, VERY bad move.

£600/month for half the bed and half a bedroom and if you split you haven't even got a recent reference to rent another place and not including bills. So effectively about £100 more a month for half the space.

tomatoplantproject Mon 22-Apr-13 08:47:20

If he's not pushing for you to move in and is offering to get a lodger in order to put some kind of pressure on you to accept your deal you should think long and hard.

Can I offer my own situation? Within weeks we were talking marriage, babies etc. I had a 1bed flat and (at the time) dp bought a 2 bed flat. It was clearly for us - I looked with him, gave him a bit of money for renovations, invested a lot of time decorating. We moved in together and I rented out my flat. We worked it so that I was paying net same amount as I was before and we got a joint account for food, and a few meals out. I should have pushed to get a legal agreement but didn't. That flat always felt like ours rather than his and financially he made sure I wasn't in a worse situation because of moving in.

Dp became dh, we sold the flat to fund our house which we own together, and on maternity leave with dd.

The point I am making with these ramblings is that it felt natural, and dh has always made sure financially I have enough. I have never felt pressured, and never believed that I was replaceable with a lodger. If he is not looking after your interests then I would worry about how selfish he would be in the long term too.

msrisotto Mon 22-Apr-13 09:06:06

I have been in a similar position to you in that my now DH bought a place that was clearly for us both and we moved into that together. I would not have been happy to help him pay his mortgage whilst having no claim to the property at all. As it was, I just paid my proportionately fair amount of bills. We are now married so what's his is mine and vice versa, but until that point of marriage, it doesn't make sense to leave yourself in a vulnerable position. If anything, it will only create an atmosphere of imbalance with you losing out, that might creep into marriage.

redwellybluewelly Mon 22-Apr-13 09:46:01

I've been in this position twice from different viewpoints.

An ex boyfriend bought a house and I moved in, I paid half of all the bills and as I didn't drive I also paid my own transport costs to and from work. When I moved in I did think it was a forever relationship but his parents made me sign a document to say I could never lay claim to the house. I was early twenties ans in love. Four years later and going halves on every piece of furniture and extensive renovation as well as thousands in 'rent' we split up.

I never saw a penny of the money I put into that house. More frustratingly when we moved in I could have just about scraped enough together to get on the property ladder. By the time I moved out I couldn't get anywhere near a deposit or mortgage.

Learning my lesson when I did eventually buy a tiny house and my now DH moved in he paid half bills and a 'sum' towards the mortgage and maintenance of the property. As soon as we knew it was 'the relationship' for us both we put my house on the market and after a year in rented we bought a joint house with all our money. We have a completely equal share.

badguider Mon 22-Apr-13 10:02:36

I think the take-home message should be that it can work either way - either take a full stake in the house or don't, and despite what others say on this thread I don't think that one is necessarily better than the other or that one says bad things about your relationship or his 'intentions'. BUT the important thing is to make sure you are both clear which.

If you are 'just renting' then DO NOT pay over the market price and DO NOT buy any big items of furniture and DO NOT pay towards decorating or renovating or any white goods. It's ALL his responsibility if he's the only one on the mortgage.

In your case I'd say the fact you're sharing a bedroom doens't mean you only get half a room, because it's a two bed flat so as long as there's only you two you're 'renting' one whole bedroom - half of his to sleep in and half his spare room for storage/guests etc.

ZenNudist Mon 22-Apr-13 18:14:39

At the end of the day you're going to follow your heart and live with this man. It doesn't matter what a bunch of strangers on the Internet say.

He doesn't sound particularly keen to have you move in. It's been 18 months, seems like you're rushing things (I know, people do these things quickly) it doesn't seem like the time is right.

If you're determined to move in with him I'd stick with paying what you do already for rent & bills. If you split just agree that you'll move out within 4-6 weeks and start looking for a place immediately.

Alternatively just keep your place on, pay rent & bills there & spend most of your time at his. That's a low commitment option for both of you & gives you valuable space to spend time apart. Your relationship will be built on stronger foundations if you have a place to retreat to. He can get a lodger if he needs the money.

If you enter into an arrangement completely favourable to him he'll have no incentive to change it. You will be stuck doing this for years if you stay together.

I think your idea to save the extra money for your future is a good one. That way you are both building up assets that can be shared in future or easily split as if you hadn't moved in. He gets the house he wants to buy without you, you save funds for your own place, as you would have done with or without him.

If he digs his heels in I'd just stick with your current arrangements. Don't forget there's a convenience factor for him having you move in, he doesn't have to come to yours and hang out with your flat mates.

yayforspring Mon 22-Apr-13 22:36:48

Thanks everyone for your advice. It does sound like there is no right answer. At the moment I have left it with him that Im nervous about contributing to his mortgage because I would be risking more than him and paying into his "savings account" by giving him rent money. Although Im now fairly sure that I will offer what Im paying now, maybe a bit more (as he has just told me the mortgage came through as more than he was expecting, 1600 plus bills...eek), I dont want him to ask me to move in purely for financial reasons so Im not going to bring it up again and I want him to not be assuming that I would be paying a certain sum. I'll encourage him to get a lodger because he hasnt lived with anyone else for 10 years and frankly it might be useful for someone else to teach him how to do that to begin with. Perhaps I am pushing to move in a bit earlier than he is ready for so thinking about it Im going to be patient for a bit and not mention it. When we are both really ready to move in together perhaps the money side of it would be less important to both of us because it would seem like less of a risk.

redwellybluewelly Mon 22-Apr-13 22:46:17


If you move in and share a room and foodbills etc then be wary of how having a lodger might impact on that agreement. Its never happened to me but a good friend let a room from another friend. When the home owner friend met her boyfriend and he started staying regularly the bills went up. Lodger friend was a bit hmm at having to 'go halves' when it should have been 'thirds'. And that didn't end well.

Somethingtothinkabout Mon 22-Apr-13 23:25:28

Just be careful OP that this latest " <gasp> the mortgage is more than I thought!" isn't a way to manipulate you into paying more in rent to him.

I think your idea of keeping your own flat and him getting a lodger for a while is a good idea. Add I agree with you that when it's right, neither of you will be so concerned about how much to the pound you pay him.

If you insist on moving in, definitely pay no more than you are paying now, and save what you can. All renovations are to be paid by him.

I'm a bit dubious that he is quibbling with you over £60 a month, which makes me think he's a bit of a stingy git and his reasons for doing this are all wrong. I mean, £60 per month on a £56k salary is a bit miserly really.

olgaga Mon 22-Apr-13 23:53:35

Very sensible yay - good luck.

MummytoKatie Tue 23-Apr-13 00:05:49

DB has a 2 bed flat. His gf lived in a house share with people she didn't particularly like.

When she moved in she paid less than she was paying for the house share but more than the cost of the extra council tax / electricity / water etc.

Therefore both she and DB were financially better off and living in a nicer home situation than they were before. (No more meals-for-one for him and no more smelly-bloke for her.)

careerbreakMum Tue 23-Apr-13 19:59:29

This is quite a tricky question - to which i have no real answer. However this is what we did.

When I got together with my husband to be, we first got engaged (which obviously has no legal status but showed commitment) and then chose a house together which we then bought together so we are both named on the mortgage. My earning power and savings were a lot less at that point so I paid as much towards the deposit as I could, about a 1/3, and my fiancé paid the rest. My fiancé then paid the mortgage and I paid all the household bills including council tax. We kept separate bank accounts although we do have some joint savings accounts. When we had children we carried on in a similar way although my husband now transfers money into my account as I have minimal cash coming in as a SAHM.

LillianGish Tue 23-Apr-13 20:19:14

"Having just seen my sister go through hell getting out of a long term relationship with house and joint finances" - however hellish that might have seemed I assume your sister came out of it with some sort of share. How much more hellish to live with this man, break up and find yourself homeless and with no deposit because any money you might have saved has gone into paying his mortgage and doing up his house - exactly what happened to a friend of mine. I think it speaks volumes that he's talking about getting a lodger - that's why he wants you to move in - so you can help pay the mortgage and much nicer for him to have you than some stranger. My advice would be start as you mean to go on - if you are happy to be the lodger then go for it, but don't fool yourself that it's any more than that. If he thinks anything of you he'll see your point of view and put things on a fairer footing if he doesn't and you move in anyway then at least you'll be doing it with your eyes open.

Notmadeofrib Tue 23-Apr-13 20:28:42

this is the sort of situation that BURNS people all the time (usually women unfortunately). You move in, pay rent, live, love, help with the home, make it your home... split up and then get kicked out without a bean. You emotionally invest as time goes on, but you have no rights. The whole thing is built on very poor foundations. If it come tumbling down then you have nothing.
It’s mortgage, his INVESTMENT, let him pay for it. If he wants you to live there DO NOT make it more expensive for yourself. Please please do not think love will find a way because when money is involved, money will trump everything.

I would be tempted to say if you really want to live together equally; rent his place out and rent somewhere together. Do not become his lodger 'with benefits' as TBH this seems to be what is being offered.

<I have seen this many times personally with friends and professionally as an IFA and sorry for shouting and ranting but it makes me so cross>

ivanapoo Wed 24-Apr-13 09:06:21

When I moved into my now DH's flat he stopped renting out his spare room so I paid what he would have rented it at - which was half the mortgage plus half of all bills.

Fortunately this was quite affordable so we both benefited.

ivanapoo Wed 24-Apr-13 09:07:51

Er, if you both rented you would walk away with nothing too! Although I would advise not moving in together until you are fairly certain about your future.

ArbitraryUsername Wed 24-Apr-13 09:24:58

You've said it's still early days etc. in which case, it might be best to put off moving in together until you feel it is not 'early days'.

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 24-Apr-13 10:00:40

Seen the update from OP, sounds very sensible.

I realise some people don't see this situation as any different from a normal renting situation, but it is. OP has fewer rights in this situation, and will actually be paying more for the privilege.

Whatever you end up doing, do not pay more than what you're paying now in rented. You need to look ahead (for both yourself, and for this possible relationship). Putting more money into rent (his mortgage) means less money to put aside for a deposit on your own house. Or, a house for the two of you together. Basically, all money you're giving him now won't count towards your part of a property, for yourself or shared.

I'm not saying he should let you live there for free. But you shouldn't be worse off than you are now, just because he's decided to take on more of a mortgage than he'd planned. For the sake of seeing if this is a long-term relationship, I'd say keep things separate for now and let him take on a lodger.

mediaword Wed 24-Apr-13 11:47:02

Hi Yayforspring. See a solicitor who specialises in 'co-habiting, financial and legal'. You get 30mins free advice. You can phone and discuss that way. I have done this with my daughter who is in the same situation. It is too easy to confuse 'lodger' with 'live-in girlfriend'; you are his girlfriend. If you contribute to the mortgage then you are obviously entitled financially if you split. You really MUST discuss with a specialist solicitor/lawyer.

mediaword Wed 24-Apr-13 11:53:30

...and I have just read the sensible message from GreenEggsandNichts. You do need to look ahead. Get legal advice, please! Also, have you considered buying a place for yourself for your own financial security? You can let it out which will cover your mortgage (great deals around for first time buyers) whilst you live with your chap. It can be anywhere in the country.

Planetofthedrapes Fri 26-Apr-13 08:22:47

Just a thought...

His mortgage payment, will be mostly made up of interest on the amount borrowed, but some will be capital repayment, or payment into a policy to pay off the capital sum - in other words paying for the house.

So, to be fair yo you, I don't think you should pay towards the capital cost of the house, if you have no stake in it. You should therefore pay less than half his mortgage payment. Additionally I don't think you should pay towards any repairs or refurbishment either, or furniture (unless you can take that away with you if you split up).

aroomofherown Fri 26-Apr-13 15:14:16

I wonder how much your contribution would decrease if he took on a lodger as well? Or would you still pay £600 and he pay less?

Sclark41264 Fri 29-Nov-13 01:14:23

I have recently bought a house and spent a considerable amount renovating it in my own name. Saved the deposit and paid the first year of mortgage payments myself. I have had a girlfriend for 2 years now but I would like to know what rights I have if she was to move in now then move out after a few years of paying 50/50 towards bills but less than 1/3 towards mortgage payments. What rights would she have to my property and money? Cheers

VestaCurry Fri 29-Nov-13 01:31:14

Agree with expat's last comment and augustrain.

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