The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) in the Dallas Region has found that in each
State in the Dallas Region, an individual can have a valid ownership interest in a
house which he has built or located on someone else's land. Generally, it is necessary
that both the landowner and the individual recognize the house as belonging to the
If an individual alleges ownership of a house located on someone else's land, document
the circumstances by obtaining the signed statements of the individual and the landowner.
If both statements agree that the individual either had his house moved onto the property
or built his house on the property and agree that that the house is owned by the individual, then the individual is considered
to have an ownership interest in the home.
If the statements do not meet the requirements in 2.a above, forward the case to the
Assistant Regional Commissioner, Management Operations and Support (ARC, MOS), Attn:
Home ownership may be established through "equity" even though an individual's name
does not appear on the property deed. Equitable home ownership (which includes equitable
life estate interest in a home) is recognized under all State laws in the Dallas Region.
Opinions from the Office of the General Counsel in the Dallas Region have provided
guidelines (see 2 below) which can be used by district offices (DOs) in making equitable
home ownership determinations without obtaining an OGC opinion.
If all of the following factors are met, the DO may establish that the individual
has home ownership because of an equitable life estate.
The individual owned the home in which he/she now lives; and
The individual deeded the home to another individual, and the deed did not provide
for a life estate, usufruct, dower, or courtesy; and
The individual continues to live in the home after it was deeded to another; and
All individuals (i.e., seller and buyer) involved in the deed agree it was their intent
at the time the home was deeded that the individual who deeded the home could continue
to live in the home for the remainder of his/her life.
Obtain signed statements from all individuals involved in the deed and include a determination
in file regarding ownership.
In situations where an individual alleges an equitable ownership/life estate (other
than the one described in 2 above), obtain statements from all involved parties plus
any pertinent documents and forward these to the ARC, MOS (Attn: SSI Team) for an