Dear Harry: My son and his girlfriend are in the process of buying a house. The difficulty is that he has several blemishes in his credit report, and the mortgage companies all want the house and mortgage in her name alone. He intends to pay half of the down payment as well as half the monthly mortgage payments, maintenance, etc. Since his name will not be on the title, he needs to find some way to protect his interest in case of a breakup. I don't think this will happen, but it's impossible to be 100 percent sure. Can this be done? How?

What Harry says: The mortgagees are concerned about the possibility of problems with the title, especially if they should marry. A supplementary agreement could protect his interest, but only to a limited degree. She could still sell the house without his knowledge and take off with the proceeds in case of a breakup. My legal eagles have suggested that the best way would be to have him place a lien on the property after settlement. This might have an adverse effect on her credit, however. Another suggestion was that she issue an undated deed with him as co-owner. Here again she could sell without his knowledge. Please tell him not to get involved in either of these suggestions without a lawyer to help him. Living together without being married presents a slew of financial problems, and vigilance should stand above emotions.

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-GIVE LIFE.