Mother renting to daughter, what contract?

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    Mother renting to daughter, what contract?

    This is my first post and a long one, sorry.

    My Mother and Father owned a large mortgage free home in England, he died in 1988 and Mother moved in to a flat she owned in 2013 because the house had unfortunately become derelict.

    In 2017 she asked me and my family during a family meal if we would like to renovate it or she would sell it as it was derelict and had been broken in to many many times, all her valuables had been stolen.

    I am her only child with 4 adult children of my own and we were not home owners. It was an exciting offer!

    I agreed to renovate (with a loan from my Mother and our own wages) and a verbal agreement that the house would be signed over to me.

    After a year of very, VERY hard work we have this year moved in finally and pay a mutually agreed minimal rent (enough to repay the loan to her.)

    Last week I asked my Mother if she would now sign the house over to me and she said she would not and thinks it's best it stays in her name. I am devastated and scared.

    My worry is, we have no legal right to be in this house, other than a verbal agreement that we could renovate it and live in it while paying back the loan. Should anything happen to her I am petrified we would lose our home. I know I should have had all of this sorted out in 2017 before we started but I trusted her when she said the house would be mine and last year went by so fast because I was neck deep in a major renovation.

    What if we relax, live here happily for 4 years for example and suddenly she developed dementia and claims we are squatting?

    What tenancy agreement would best fit this long term agreement please? I need something to present to her to sign where she keeps her hold on the deeds but also gives us long term security.

    NB: My Mother suffers from OCD which in her manifests with Chronic Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, the house was not only derelict, pigeon filled, but full of everything that had ever entered it since my Father died in 1988.

    My husband thinks her sudden change of mind is due to her distress at us throwing everything from the house out (we had to, very little was salvageable) and that the house is the only thing left of her 'collection'. She still hasn't been to see the house since we took it over.

    Renting to family tends to end in tears.


      The legal situation is a bit complex and you'd be best speaking to a solicitor, because there's much more than property letting involved here.

      You can't be squatters, because you have been allowed to live in the property by the owner (and squatting requires that no permission was ever given).

      If you are living in the property and your mother isn't and you're paying rent, you almost certainly have a tenancy and it's simply verbal, with no written agreement.
      Your mother would have to evict you through the courts if you decided not to leave if asked (and someone with dementia would find that challenging to say the least.

      But If the rent is repaying a loan, it's not rent, it's a repayment of a loan, and rent is a necessity if there's a tenancy.

      If you paid for (or carried out) renovation work in the expectation of owning the property, you have possibly acquired a legal claim in the property as you will have created some beneficial ownership for yourselves.

      A pragmatic solution might be not to sign the property over to you, but to enter a joint ownership with your mother, who will continue to have ownership with you, but means that when she passes away, the property is automatically yours.

      But it's a complicated issue and not something it's going to be easy to resolve on a forum.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).




        Thank you so much, I will put the joint ownership to her.


          You need a good family Law Solicitor, experienced in Tax planing etc.


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