Mother-in-law advise

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  • Mother-in-law advise

    Hi, I hope I have posted this question in the correct place, if i havnt please forgive me, I not used a forum before, my problem is about 5 years ago my mother and father-in-law got into problems paying here mortgage and asked my wife and I to buy here house so that she wouldnt loose it, which we did, we had it at a reduced rate, and in exchange she could live in the house for the rest of her life with nothing to pay exept her usual utility bills (No Rent), the problem is she has now started to ask for rediculous things like she would like a conservatory, new kitchen and new guttering because the old guttering is dirty and doesnt look very nice, and now the central heating has packed up (my father in law fitted it with his Corgy registered friend) and she wants us to pay for it. My question is are we responsible for the central heating even though she doesnt pay rent and I didnt have the central heating fitted. We told her when we bought it that she could do with the house as she pleased, all she has to do it keep it maintained, (verbal agreement)


  • #2
    If no rent has been paid then you have not created a tenancy. Your in-laws cannot therefore demand anything as such I believe. CORGI no longer exists and is now the GSR (changed on 1 April 2009).
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply but could we be held responsible for the central heating?


      • #4
        I think the main question is whether a life interest has been created and if so, what repairing obligations go with that interest.

        It is not an issue I have any experience of I am afraid, but perhaps others will be able to comment.


        • #5
          As in the opinion of one of our experts she is not a tenant thus you cannot be held responsible for anything. She has to prove that she holds a tenancy agreement granted by you and that she is paying rent. She doesn't and isn't so you should have nothing to worry about, but it is better to check back here from time to time in case another of our experts posts a contrary opinion.

          Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


          • #6
            What you seem to have done is an amateur 'home reversion plan' - these plans generally make the occupier responsible for all maintenance and repairs during their lifetime, (as does your verbal agreement). Although verbal agreements are valid, they are very hard to prove - I don't know what the default position would be, but as others have said, not paying rent generally means not-a-tenant.

            However, as this type of issue may continue to arise, I suggest you seek legal advice, from a specialist landlord & tenant solicitor, in order to confirm MIL's status and your potential liabilities. Family arrangements, especially verbal ones, have a tendency to turn sour, and it would be a good idea to get something in writing so that everyone is clear about the position.

            I hope you looked into the tax implications of what you did, as you could end up liable for a lot of capital gains tax, given that you bought at below market value.


            • #7
              Thank you all for your replys it has put our minds at ease.

              Kind Regard


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gaz7108 View Post
                Thank you all for your replys it has put our minds at ease.

                Kind Regard
                It would be more sensible to worry a bit, go and see a solicitor, and get something agreed in writing.


                • #9
                  For advice about mothers-in-law, it's no sadly longer possible to contact the leading expert Les Dawson.
                  JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                  1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                  2. Telephone advice: see
                  3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                  4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


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