She's no landlady - she's his wife - Mary Holm

Sunday 2 May 2004

Q. Four years ago I bought a two-bedroom unit in Auckland for $179,000. When comparing with nearby properties that have sold in the past year or so, it would now be worth about $279,000.

My fiance lives with me and pays rent. We are to be married in July and it seems silly for him to go on paying me rent.

Option 1 is for him to pay me for half the house at the curr

By The Landlord

ent valuation.

Option 2 is for me to charge him half of the original cost of the house plus half of the cost of the renovations I have done (about $25,000).

I'm trying to work out what would be fair for both of us. Of course I don't want him to be lumped with a huge mortgage, but I don't see why I should lose out as I scrimped and saved to buy a house and haven't been as free with my money as him. Also, it was my good fortune to buy when I did and not at the height of the market.

Please help me to work out a fair way to split the property where neither of us loses out. And do I take into account the amount of interest I have already paid on my mortgage? Do we need to see a lawyer too?

A. Whatever happened to the bad old days, when people getting married said, "What's mine is ours"?

These days, though, with many marriages not lasting, it pays to think these issues through dispassionately.

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