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Country: The Netherlands

Let's assume I have a girlfriend and want to buy an apartment. I take a mortgage completely on my own name and start living in the apartment with my girlfriend. Now I have several questions in case we would break up:

  1. Let's assume I pay for mortgage on my own, but she buys some furniture, paints walls, etc. Does she have any rights on my apartment, or not?
  2. Let's assume that officially I was paying for mortgage myself, but she is generous so she sends me 50% of my monthly mortgage payments to by bank account as an unofficial help. I don't think there is anything illegal with that. However, now if we would break up, she could go to court, show transactions and say that she was paying part of my mortgage. Is it possible that court would say that now part of the apartment belongs to her, or there is no way for her to prove that I was using that money as mortgage payments?
  3. Similar situation in 2nd question, but additionally, I would like to note that in The Netherlands banks usually will not allow you to rent out apartment if you still own bank and are paying a mortgage. How would I prove to the court or bank that those payments were not her monthly rent payments to me?

When I say 'girlfriend', I mean completely unofficial. I am not sure how much would situation change if she would become my wife after me buying an apartment.

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  1. As she lives in the apartment, she has certain rights. In particular, she cannot be evicted without due process. The joint investment confirms she's more than a squatter. It's unlikely that the paint would cause joint ownership, as painting is considered maintenance. Furniture is fully separate from the apartment.

  2. Certainly not illegal. It's not even qualified as a gift. It's a contribution to a joint household. But as you suspect, things can get messy at a break-up - and doubly so when you haven't arranged matters formally. It's pretty unlikely the court will rule that she co-owns the apartment - ownership of real estate generally can only be transferred by formal contract (via Notaris/Kadaster - Dutch notaries and Land Title Agency). However, she can be awarded a financial claim on you. (Verrekenovereenkomst).

  3. The burden of proof is on the bank, not you. Furthermore, you still live in your apartment, while the clause is intended to protect against absent landlords.

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