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Residential real estate: Some rules differ for common law couples

Buying a home can be an exciting venture. For some Alberta couples it is the next step in a relationship. But there are certain things unmarried couples should know when it comes to residential real estate -- there are some differences when a couple isn't legally married. 

To be considered a common law couple in Alberta, the two people must have been living together for at least three years -- that applies to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. As long as a common law couple stays together, everything is fine, but if they should separate, this is where the law differs from those who are married. There is no automatic right to property sharing in a common law partnership. But if the property was acquired during the time the couple was living together, one can file a property claim under the law. 

Common law couples can, however, take advantage of certain government credits and incentives when buying a home. The legalities don't cross into mortgage shopping. All a lending institution wants to know is the amount of a couple's combined income, credit history and if they'll be able to make payments on time. When it comes to homeownership, common law couples can either take ownership as joint tenants or tenants in common. A lawyer would be able to explain the differentiation.

When it comes to residential real estate ownership, the laws can be complex and confusing. An Alberta lawyer will be able to clarify things associated with owning a house such as the difference in types of ownership. Whether buying or purchasing a home, a lawyer will be able to help bring an accepted offer to a successful closing.

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