Hi Bee –
Alberta divorce lawyer here. Things are wildly different in Alberta than most US states (at least from what I gather reading on these boards). Property laws across Canada vary from province to province.
This is a giant paraphrase of the law here, and of course there are lots of grey areas and “it depends”, but essentially if you move in together and are together for less than three years, your stuff is your stuff, and his stuff is his stuff. After three years of being in a relationship of interdependence they deem you the same as a married couple and go BACK to the date your relationship of interdependence began (usually when you moved in together) and divide everything equally. You can opt out of these rules with a cohabitation agreement.
What I’m seeing a lot of people putting into their cohabitation agreements is a timeline (i.e. John’s house is John’s house for the first two/three/four years of cohabitation. Jane’s contributions will be considered rent. John will be responsible for all capital improvements, property taxes, etc. Should the parties separate after two/three/four (whatever you put in) years, the equity acquired after year two/three/four will be divided equally.
The parties agree that the current value of the house as at June 2020 is $500,000 and the mortgage is $400,000. The current equity is $100,000.
Should the parties separate after June 2023, they will determine the equity as at June 2023 by obtaining a joint historic appraisal (or each getting their own appraisal and averaging) and subtracting the mortgage at that time.
Parties separate in June 2025, agreement says equity after June 2023 is split.
June 2025 – Value $650,000, Mortgage $300,000, Equity $350,000
June 2023 – Value $600,000, Mortgage $350,000, Equity $250,000
John takes $250,000, PLUS half of increase of $100,000 for $300,000 total
Jane takes $50,000
Sorry if that was really long. It’s just a popular agreement we are doing right now. It lets you both get out without too much lost during the first year or two (you would be paying rent elsewhere), but the longer the relationship the more “skin” in the property you get, even if he doesn’t marry you.
I don’t think the 50/50 on mortgage is a terrible idea, especially since it’s lower than market value and you are saving money. With property taxes, insurance, utilities, internet, etc. that 50/50 is likely to be closer to a proportionate split if you are only sharing the mortgage. I’d honestly think 50/50 on all bills (other than massive home renos) is a fair deal if you are still saving money on rent.