My girlfriend and I are buying a house together. My parents are giving me the deposit but they have told me that they are only prepared to give me the money if I get my girlfriend to sign a letter to say that if we split up I will get the deposit money. A friend said I don’t need a letter but instead need a cohabitation agreement. Would a cohabitation agreement be better than a letter and would it take long to sort out as we are hoping to complete the house purchase in a few weeks.

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Public Answer: 

Thank you for your enquiry.
Your friend is right in saying that you need a cohabitation agreement. In your circumstances, a letter is not sufficient to protect the deposit. 
A cohabitation agreement can cover not only what will happen to the deposit money if you split up from your girlfriend, but can be more detailed. For example, it can say how any equity built up in the property during your ownership should be shared (if at all) if you split up with your girlfriend. The cohabitation agreement could also record the agreement that you have reached over how you will contribute to the mortgage and household bills.
If you are hoping to complete your house purchase in a few weeks it should be possible to get the cohabitation agreement prepared and signed by the date of completion. The first step is to discuss what you would like to put in your cohabitation agreement as the document will be prepared taking into account your personal circumstances and individual preferences.
Given your timeframe, please call us as soon as you can on 0203 959 9123 to discuss the preparation of your cohabitation agreement and to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.
Jordana Adams, Family Solicitor 
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