I made an agreement with someone that we would both buy a property and have shared interest, but that the other person would be the only one on the deed. I have filed taxes based on that agreement. There was a personal dispute and now the person is claiming full ownership and denying any agreement we had even though it has been established in emails, texts, and through federal tax submissions. Do I have any rights to the property? If not, is it possible to claim fraud in the inducement?
ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS BELIVEAU:
Under the Statute of Frauds, agreements regarding real estate must be in writing and signed by the person who is being charged. Being on the deed is the proof to ownership. It gives notice to third parties that you own the property. Agreeing to co-sign a loan does not give you ownership. Taking a deduction on your taxes does not give you ownership. The e-mail may be enough to establish a claim of ownership if he admitted to the agreement. You will need to consult an attorney to determine if it is enough.
You did not say that you were paying on the loan, only taking deductions. Fraud includes intent and that you have been harmed in a tangible way. You will need to prove a monetary loss.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
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