SI DAL01130.100 The Home
A. OWNERSHIP OF A HOME LOCATED ON SOMEONE ELSE'S LAND
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 individual.
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.
a. Statements Agree
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.
b. Statements Do Not Agree
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: SSI Team.
B. EQUITABLE HOME OWNERSHIP
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.
2. DO Equitable Home Ownership Determination
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.
3. Documentation of Equitable Life Estate
Obtain signed statements from all individuals involved in the deed and include a determination in file regarding ownership.
4. Other Situations with Allegation of Equitable 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 ownership determination.