Gifts - do I have to give them back legally

I’ve recently split up with my boyfriend.  He is demanding gifts back that he bought for me.  He says if I don’t give these gifts back he’ll take me to court to get them back. 
Where do I stand legally?  Things like a fridge/freezer, hoover, garden furniture.  He says that because he has receipts for purchasing the items, the court will make me give them back.  When he bought these items for me there was no contract, nothing saying that if we split up then I have to give them back. 
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
Thank you. 
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Comments

  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,271
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    If he was living with you and bought a fridge/freezer for the house then he would have a right to take it with him when he left.  If he wasn't living with you and bought you a fridge/freezer then I would understand that to be a gift to which he has no further rights.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Those items are not things that are typically given/received as gifts.

    Did you share a house and these were bought for joint use ?

    Were they bought specifically for a birthday/Xmas etc ?
    He could see that I was struggling with little storage place for food so he bought it for me.  
    My hoover was broken so he offered to buy me a new one. 
    The garden furniture.  When he came round there was nowhere to sit so he offered to buy it for me. 
    He splashed the cash without a second thought.  There was no special occasion.  He just bought them for me. 
    He did not live with me.  
  • mebu60
    mebu60 Posts: 804
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    A gift is a gift. Unless he has written evidence that they were given with conditions I'm not sure the threatened legal action would get very far. That's just a personal opinion.  
    Who initiated the break-up? If it was you he may be going through some emotional turmoil.
    Just be clear the items were received by you in the spirit they were given at the time as unconditional gifts. 
    Hopefully he will reflect and back-off in time. 
  • mebu60 said:
    A gift is a gift. Unless he has written evidence that they were given with conditions I'm not sure the threatened legal action would get very far. That's just a personal opinion.  
    Who initiated the break-up? If it was you he may be going through some emotional turmoil.
    Just be clear the items were received by you in the spirit they were given at the time as unconditional gifts. 
    Hopefully he will reflect and back-off in time. 
    Well this is what I thought!  A gift is a gift and when you give a gift, you obviously pay for it and have a receipt for it.  There’s no contract to say that the gifts were given conditionally. 

    I initiated the break up.  He’s very angry and it’s his Mother who is sending threatening messages.  I’ve now blocked him and his family so they can’t contact me.  
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,849
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    I think that your boyfriend might tell any court that he bought these items for you and gave them to you in the expectation that he would be moving in with you at some point in the future. If he does so, I think a court would think that a fair settlement would be for you to keep some items and to give him some of them back. How many items you have to give back might depend on how much each item cost, and what condition it is in now (which will affect its value). 

    You might also use any knowledge you have of whether he already has a fridge/freezer or hoover and whether he has somewhere where I might be able to use the garden furniture, to negotiate with him. It would be better to come to an agreement that you can both accept than fight over this and have it escalate. If he does want to go to court, it will help you if you have made sensible and fair offers as to how to give him something back, even if you maintain that they were actually gifts. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Brie said:
    If he was living with you and bought a fridge/freezer for the house then he would have a right to take it with him when he left.  If he wasn't living with you and bought you a fridge/freezer then I would understand that to be a gift to which he has no further rights.  
    Brie said:
    If he was living with you and bought a fridge/freezer for the house then he would have a right to take it with him when he left.  If he wasn't living with you and bought you a fridge/freezer then I would understand that to be a gift to which he has no further rights.  
    He was not living with me. So I understand that a gift is a gift.  
    Thank you for your comment. 
  • tacpot12 said:
    I think that your boyfriend might tell any court that he bought these items for you and gave them to you in the expectation that he would be moving in with you at some point in the future. If he does so, I think a court would think that a fair settlement would be for you to keep some items and to give him some of them back. How many items you have to give back might depend on how much each item cost, and what condition it is in now (which will affect its value). 

    You might also use any knowledge you have of whether he already has a fridge/freezer or hoover and whether he has somewhere where I might be able to use the garden furniture, to negotiate with him. It would be better to come to an agreement that you can both accept than fight over this and have it escalate. If he does want to go to court, it will help you if you have made sensible and fair offers as to how to give him something back, even if you maintain that they were actually gifts. 
    Oh yes I think he’ll say that he bought these items with a view to eventually buy a house and move in together.  
    He lives with his Mother.  So he has nowhere to store these items apart from in a storage container.  He is doing it out of spite with his Mother’s encouragement. 
  • swingaloo
    swingaloo Posts: 2,645
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    edited 16 November 2023 at 7:15PM
    I think a lot depends on the relationship you had. If you had been a couple for a long time and were planning a future together and then decided to split it may be fair to agree to split the things between you.
    On the other hand if you had been seeing each other for only a few months and he had spoiled you rotten then once he had done that you dump him that would be different. He may feel used.

    You say he 'splashed the cash without a second thought' but perhaps he thought you would be long term.

    I think you should ask yourself how you would feel if it were the other way round.

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