Long Term Girlfriend’s Rights to the House


Common law? Separation? I purchased a home for my client and his dad also on title 10 years ago, for $240,000, son and girlfriend lived in home for 10 years, dad was removed from title 4 years ago. For 10 years the son has been paying mortgage and utilities and fiance paying for everything else for 10 years. Now they are splitting up and son on title asked her to leave, since he’s selling the house. Does fiance have any financial claim after 10 years? Value of home now approximately $660,000. Can the home be listed without her consent?


What is the status of the “girlfriend”? Did she pay any money towards the house itself? If not, did she actually pay for other things like groceries and transportation?

Since they were not “married” she has no rights of possession as a matrimonial home under the Family Law Act.

She is does fall under “living together” (3 or more years) under the Family Law Act, and that makes her a “support spouse” and she is entitled to financial support arising from the breakup.

The property can be listed and sold without her consent, however, she might be able to make an application to Court and be awarded a sum of money related to the support obligations. Having said that, it’s also possible that the support obligations might flow the other way, and she has to pay him.

They should have had a “cohabitation agreement”, but obviously they didn’t. When it comes to a financial interest in the property the Court might award her a portion of the property based upon the doctrine of unjust enrichment. Check the leading Supreme Court of Canada case on point, Vanasse v. Seguin.

So, on the basis of the theoretical question, she might be awarded $210,000, or 50 of the profits during the 10 year relationship.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker


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