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Five years ago I found a house I wanted to buy.

I had a full-time job and saved enough money for the down payment.

I went to see about getting a loan and I was told that my income alone was not enough to secure the loan.

My father wanted to help and signed as a co-owner on the property so his income would be combined with mine so as to enable me qualify for the loan.

All was well until he and my mother divorced.

He had nowhere to go and asked to stay with me for a few months which I allowed.

After a year, he found a girlfriend and moved out, leaving behind a broken bedroom door and several holes punched into the walls.

Six months later, he is no longer with his girlfriend and asked to move back to my house; my answer was: No.

Now, he is threatening to force me to sell the house and take half the money if I don't allow him back.

Does he have the right to do this?

The only thing he has put into my house is the rent he paid while staying there, $4000. That didn't even cover the damage he did while he was there. Everything else I have paid for on my own, the downpayment, mortgages, utilities, insurance, taxes, and fixing the damage he left.

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    Step zero is to verify who's name is on what paperwork. It's not typical, but it is possible to have a different set of names on a deed and a loan. In terms of ownership, it's the deed that matters. If you do go talk to a lawyer, they're going to want to know this anyways, so best to get the paperwork together first (and maybe cut down on the trips to the lawyer if you can bring everything to the first conversation). – dwizum Dec 23 '19 at 14:10
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You need to talk to a lawyer.

sevensevens is right. Your father owns half the house, because you signed a legal agreement that says that. He can very reasonably demand to live there. He can probably force you to sell. And he will probably get half the value of the house when you do sell.

However you should talk to a lawyer because nothing is always cut and dried, and when something of the value of a house is at stake there may be a way out of this that we can't think of. Spending a couple of hundred on a lawyer may save you tens of thousands. It's worth asking.

What you should have done.

I'm not writing this for you, it's too late. I'm writing this for the other people who are thinking of doing something similar and visit this site.

  1. You should have got your father to co-sign the loan, not co-own the house. This may not have been possible, depending on the mortgage. And your father would have to trust you a lot to do it, because if something goes wrong he could end up being liable for your mortgage and not owning the house.
  2. You should have got a legal agreement stating who owned what proportion of the house and what each person's rights were. A lawyer would have been happy to draw one up, and again a few hundred dollars would have potentially saved you tens of thousands.
  3. You should have consulted a lawyer about the co-ownership when you bought the house. A lawyer would either have told you this, or given you even better advice than we can, before you started down this road.
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Sell the house and use your half to buy a house you can get approved for on just your income

Now he's threatening to force me to sell the house and take half the money if I don't allow him back. Does he have the right to do this?

Probably. He owns 1/2 the house. Even if he doesn't he can cause you quite a few problems while a court decides.

The only thing he has put into my house is the rent he paid while staying there, $4000. That didn't even cover the damage he did while he was there.

He's an owner. He trashed his house and was happy to live in a damaged place. He wasn't a renter. He's an owner who acted like a renter.

Everything else I have paid for on my own

It doesn't matter who paid, he's still 1/2 owner.

At this point, you either need to let your father live with you again (it's 1/2 his, it doesn't matter if he didn't pay the mortgage), or sell the place and move somewhere you can afford on your own.

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You need to look at how title is held. Did you take ownership as 'tenants in common' or 'joint tenants'? 'Tenants in Common' allows for specific (unequal) shares of ownership, while 'Joint Tenants' implies equal ownership.

I've owned a few properties with unequal ownership situations, and used 'tenants in common' to reflect the ownership percentages. For example - I put up 67% of the money for a place, my friend put up 33% of the money. We took title as 'tenants in common'. When we sold, I took 67% of the proceeds and my friend took 33% of the proceeds. I just bought another place last year with unequal contributions, and we took title as tenants in common again.

In your case, I would hope you used 'tenants in common' and not 'joint tenancy' but you haven't said.

Also, how much did your father contribute (percentage-wise)? Does he claim a portion of the property tax bill as a deduction?

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To boil down the @DJClayworth answer to it's essence:

The only thing he has put into my house is ...

his name on the deed, which makes him co-owner, and thus partner and co-controller of the house (lacking any other written agreement).

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