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House and home

Signing a Tenancy Agreement. Should I?

(56 Posts)
Su127 Tue 20-Aug-19 22:09:17

I will shortly be sharing a home with my daughter, her husband and young boys. I own the house. We will have totally separate living quarters. Together under the same roof and only sharing the stairs. I proposed we sign a Tenancy Agreement and/or House Rules. It’s not gone down well to say the least. In fact they are pressing me to sign over their portion to them while I still have seven years in me! The atmosphere is dreadful. They rent. They have not put one penny into building the new house, but have had plenty to say what they wanted. Their stance being that they will be paying rent. My other daughter lost her life in car accident recently. No fight in me but I feel I must stand my ground. Oh do please help me. Gently.

HazelG Sat 24-Aug-19 13:46:37

Su127 I think Davidhs has given you some very good advice, your DD and her husband are looking to the future and wanting to secure it for themselves and their children, your DGC. Talk openly with them about your intentions and your fears, seek legal advice and do these things together as much as possible, secure your future and those of your DD and your DGC.

oodles Thu 22-Aug-19 19:43:55

Lots of good advice and experience here, but can I reiterate just from my own experience that your dad might face having to divorce and if they have a stake in the property dsil will have a claim to part of it. I'd been married 36 years when now ex left me, just because they might have been married some years doesn't mean that they will continue to be married. He went off just before my dad's 90th birthday, I was 57, which was v difficult.
If you have friends who know solicitors or are solicitors themselves I'd start by asking for recommendations, and go and speak to the ones suggested. You might get a frée half hour, maybe even go to some that look good from what it says on their website, ask age UK, cab, speak to some letting agents or property management companies and fund out as much as you can, would there be capital gains too if sold, so you need to know this too. If you can find a solicitor who specialises in the affairs of the elderly they would be good to talk to too. So find as much as possible, yes a bugger firm might be sensible, you don't know what changes there will be in the future, so all you can do is so it as watertightly as is possible ATM.
As for being a landlord, well I've never been one but know people who are and know that the contract is key. It is a new house, so hopefully there will not be any problems to deal with, you'll be responsible for example for getting boiler services and repaired, you'll need insurance, will you let it furnished or unfurnished, if there are appliances they will be new so you'll have a few years grace before anything needs mending. Expenses come out if the income for tax purposes, so you might consider an accountant to help with your tax return, another expense.
People I've known who've rented have had regular inspection visits from landlord or agent, maybe consider using an agent, to make sure that your property is being looked after properly. Remember as a landlord you'll not be able to go into their bit without notice, unless obviously you are invited, which protects them. Think about what you require them to do, re painting etc, pets, garden. Lots to think about. Your dad and family would have all these things wherever they rented so you're not being mean just making sensible boundaries.

Mossfarr Thu 22-Aug-19 15:25:04

I have been in this situation for the last 25 years and believe me, over time, it becomes much more complicated than you could imagine. Lives change and no-one can predict the future. What seems a perfect solution now may be a massive cause of friction ten (or less) years down the line.

Many previous posters have pointed out the problems if your daughter and son -in-law separate and divorce - but have you considered what would happen if you remarried and your family don't get on with your new partner?

What if your DD & SIL decide to emigrate, or live abroad, or move to a different part of the country?

Getting them to sign a tenancy agreement seems an obvious solution but do you realise that in the eyes of the law you become a landlord ? You will need to comply with masses of legislation, declare the income to HMRC and submit a self assessment tax return. Being a landlord is not for the faint hearted (I am one)!

You definitely need good legal advice. If you do decide to sign your house over make sure that it has a condition attached that it will be your home for the rest of your life.

If I could go back - would I do this again? Definitely not.

Anneeba Thu 22-Aug-19 14:58:59

How heartbreaking for you. As previously mentioned, unless you are living in one of the most expensive property hotspots you are unlikely to incur death duties. Care costs are something different, but then again if the law changes in the future and you have Al ready handed over your assets, who knows what creeks without paddles we may find ourselves on?! Society and councils may not be prepared to do much at all to help the huge aged population and you may be grateful to have your own resources to ensure you are cared for. This would be true in circumstances where peace, harmony and excitement at the thought of a new venture living together was the case, let alone in what sound very sad and dodgy times that you seem to be in. Keep your son in law awAy from your assets. Good luck

Joyfulnanna Wed 21-Aug-19 22:39:59

Ooh isn't it awful how our AC try to manipulate us.. Just dreadful. But your DD has lost her sister so must be grieving too. Just stick to your guns, don't say anything that makes them think you might cave in. Repeat what you said before if they bring it up again. Seek support here if you feel down, we are with you on this.

Tillybelle Wed 21-Aug-19 21:51:35

That's terrible! Yet, I have experienced behaviour that is equally appalling, so terrible some people simply could not beleive me until they saw the evidence. Elder-abuse is real and right there in the family in some cases.

Su127. sorry I write long messages!
I just thought - of you are in the UK. Age UK may be able to give advice. Look on the web.
Good luck.

Tillybelle Wed 21-Aug-19 21:46:46


Sorry about a late arrival here.

I am so sorry to hear of your daughter's death in a car accident. I would not be surprised if you can hardly think straight! I do hope you are finding a way through the grief and shock. I do hope you have good, caring friends around you.

Your explanation regarding your living circumstances is very clear. I think it best to have a legal mind look at it. Lesley1711 above has given excellent advice, imho, as have so many others. I will try and suggest how you can deal with this emotionally. When I have to achieve something with people who make me nervous, I act as though I am very self-assured and calmly knowledgeable about what I am doing. I sometimes imagine how a person I know who is always composed and very dignified with an important job would say what I am going to say. I take various characters from TV as role models!!

Be firm and try and keep unemotional about it. Act as though you are the Headmistress and they are the fourth form pupils who are trying to break a few rules. Try and use a bright and purposeful tone of voice when explaining the Contract, which is a necessary part of you all living in your house, to your family. Just get it done with a Solicitor, without talking to them about it and bring the written up Contract to them to sign, with witnesses. Explain that it is a perfectly normal procedure.

Considering the way you are dividing the house, I would imagine there could possibly be Council Charge implications. It might be wise to make sure about this, although the share staircase may make it one dwelling with allocated rooms. But do make sure you are on the right footing. I imagine they have separate dustbins for example? Also make sure your insurance is the right type. Please forgive me if I am telling you what you know!

As far as I can see your daughter's family must sign a proper tenancy agreement and have a rent book. She and her husband sound as if they are taking advantage of you. At this agonising time while you are grieving it is essential that you get good professional advice and do not try and deal with this on your own. Obviously you do not "sign over" your part of the house to them! That is preposterous! I know they are using the 'if you need care' situation but get advice. I do not think they can be thrown out as it will be their home.
Are they trying to get to own the whole house without paying a penny towards it so far? That worries me too, because once you are in the house you will have overheads, and their rent will be necessary. I hope they will be reliable in paying it. The Tenancy contract will say what will happen in the event of their non payment of rent. This is a perfectly normal thing to do. I would have thought they would be pleased to have everything organised and above-board - for their own pride! I would, in their position, not want to let anyone think I was sponging off my mother now that I was an adult with my own family, and the Tenancy Contract is proof that they would want to do the right thing. It might be worth saying this.

I am very sorry to be rather blunt, but this is your money in those bricks, it is your asset. Should something dramatically change in your life you might need to sell it! That is extremely unlikely of course, or you would not be planning ahead to live there, but you must keep your name on the title deeds, please. They must know that being tenants means keeping to the contract of the Tenancy too. That is essential!

I would try and act calmly around them and get this sorted out with a Solicitor. Before you get the Contract written up think of the rules you want put in it, such as what they are responsible for and how the garden is to be shared. A good Solicitor will be able to give advice on that too. We had to live-in for work years ago. We let our house to Tenants, so I remember getting the Contract drawn up.

Try and act as if you are a very well-informed and calmly professional person who knows what is to be done. Put on an act of this. Do not discuss with them whether to have a contract and definitely do not discuss "signing over" your part! That idea fills me with misgiving I am sorry to say. I do understand the fees for if you need to go into care, but if it is their home nobody can throw them out. Anyway, get legal advice! I am very worried about you losing any rights to your home and giving it over to them. Lesley told you what could happen, should they divorce.

If your daughter and her family want to share your house, they have to do it properly. You will need to pay tax on their rent as well (there used to be an allowance for expenses on certain things) so once you start, phone the tax office for advice. They are extremely helpful, contrary to what some people imagine!
I do hope you can find a good Solicitor Sul. Mine became a good friend! I think if you behave as if doing things your way, having a Contract is the normal procedure and just as ordinary as the builder having the windows put in, they will be unable to talk you down. They may try, but just don't enter into a discussion, remain the Headmistress! Treat it as a fēte accompli and as essential and ordinary as a front door.

Wishing you much happiness in your new home. I will not be able to get you out of my mind, as I feel sure that is the same for everyone here. If possible, please let us know how you get on.
Sending you much love and warmest wishes hoping everything turns out well,
Elle 💐

GreenGran78 Wed 21-Aug-19 17:01:18

Someone I know let her daughter come to live with her. After a while she was persuaded to sign the property over, because of the '7 year rule.'
Two years later her daughter evicted her and sold the house.
No-one imagines that family would treat them in such a way, but it happens. Think carefully about what you really want. If necessary ask your daughter to find a rental property elsewhere, until you have reached a clear decision. In any event, as everyone else has said, have a legally binding document drawn up by an expert in such matters, to protect your own interest.
It certainly sounds as though your prospective tenants have nothing but their own interests at heart!

Grannylottie Wed 21-Aug-19 16:42:15

If you were to sign over the house re the 7 year rule and live in the house you would have to pay rent at the market value to avoid tax . Its not possible to sign prooerty over without paying the going rate in rent as when you die the government will claw back the money . Inheritance tax is not eadily avoided unfortunately.

Esmerelda Wed 21-Aug-19 16:26:08

Can only agree wholeheartedly with the advice given here and with the sympathy expressed for the death of your other daughter. Whatever you do you need a proper legal tenancy agreement and I, for one, would resist all efforts to persuade any signing over of the bit of the house they are renting. All sorts of things can go wrong in the future and their behaviour to you at this terrible time of grief does not bode well.
You are the important one here and you must take care of yourself ... let them pay inheritance tax, if need be, as they do not appear to have paid towards this house at all, despite making demands.
Make sure you book that appointment with a really good solicitor as soon as possible and, in the meantime,all my thoughts and sympathy go out to you... 🌹

luluaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 16:04:27

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. I agree with others that doing anything about handing over "their" share now seems unwise. Get some legal advice and draw up a proper watertight tenancy agreement and have a rent book. I don't think you are in any state to do anything else at present and I would tell them so. I wonder how this all came about, was it directly to do with your daughter's death. Please be careful everyone is right about what can happen when property is handed over. I think there was a thread running recently about a couple who had handed over a barn to their adult children and now found they were selling it, property is a nightmare.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 21-Aug-19 14:18:07

I would counsel you not to sign over their share of the house to them now.

If you do, and living in the same property becomes impossible for any reason I could visualize you being very badly placed.

I wonder whether you haven't felt pushed into this house-sharing because of your other daughter's death for which I send you my greatest sympathy.

From what you say, this is a new house that you have paid for entirely. I don't see why you should be expected to give a part of the property away,

Please do get legal advice. I would think you would be better off asking your daughter and son-in-law to pay rent, although in your place, I honestly think I would back out of this shared property idea and put the house up for sale.

Summerfly Wed 21-Aug-19 13:54:40

First of all I want to say how very sorry to hear that you have lost you beloved daughter. Nothing can prepare us for such a tragic event. I’m sure this will be clouding your judgement and the fact that you’re still grieving and will be for a long time, is something your DD and SiL should be taking into consideration and should have the decency to wait until you’re in a better place to be dealing with such important matters. I would take MOnica’s sound advice if I were you. It sounds as though she is familiar with the legalities of such matters. Sending you love and hugs. 💐🌹💐

TrendyNannie6 Wed 21-Aug-19 13:23:41

Sorry to say I don’t like the sound of this, maybe it’s me being extra cautious , my heart goes out to you, so sorry about your other daughter, you must be feeling so vulnerable at the moment, you say you feel pressurised by them, awful atmosphere not put a penny into the house, but have plenty to say, I bet they do, sounds like they are thinking of themselves to me, and not considering your feelings. It doesn’t sound to me like you should be sharing a home, I’ve seen things happen like this before, sorry to put a dampener on it, but I’m being honest and thinking if it was me in your shoes, I wouldn’t be rushing into anything like that. And certainly wouldn’t have anyone putting pressure on me esp now as you are grieving, I wish you all the luck in the world please let us know how things go love

absthame Wed 21-Aug-19 13:15:14

I'm sorry for the loss of your other daughter.

With the reaction that you've had so far, I definitely would not sign anything over to them and would insist upon a tenancy agreement. If they are not agreeable then give them notice to quit, having consulted a solicitor first. I doubt that anybody else exists that would provide free board to them either.

My son is the MD of some care homes and has had client's who have been left facing eviction from the care home because their family have got control of the client's home and then refused to pay the bills for the care home pop-up. Fortunately my son and the owner of the care homes had better moral standards than the client's families.

GoldenAge Wed 21-Aug-19 12:18:21

Su127 I am so sorry for your loss of your other daughter. This is a very difficult loss to bear and although you don't say it, you may be depressed. This is not a good state to be in when you are about to share your home because you may be ridden roughshod over. Certainly, you should not be giving anything away, and my advice is to speak with a solicitor (one hour's free consultation is usually available in most solicitors' practices). You also need to ask your daughter what the objection is to a formal tenancy agreement. I think if this objection is articulated, you will learn a lot about what additional expectations and ambitions they have of you and the property. Personally, given the situation, I would insist on a tenancy agreement as a safeguard for both of you. You need also to look to the future when perhaps at some point you may require care for yourself - if you have signed part of the house over to someone else what impact will that have for you?

Hm999 Wed 21-Aug-19 12:15:09

Am very sorry to hear of the loss of your other daughter, Grannybuy ❤❤⚘⚘

Hm999 Wed 21-Aug-19 12:13:25

Will it help to put it to them that a legal agreement would protect them too?

EmilyHarburn Wed 21-Aug-19 12:00:59

Protect your interests. See a solicitor. It would be dreadful if once the seven years were up they decided to put you in a home because arranging any care you needed was too much trouble. There are of course pros and cons to any arrangement.

I'm so sorry you have just lost a daughter and am sure that a suitable solicitor could sort out with you the best way forward that would protect your interests and give your daughter and her family some longer term interest in the house.

ayokunmi1 Wed 21-Aug-19 11:50:50

Proper legal advice but be very aware that if you sign it over the partner will have a stake in this
Think very very carefully.
For me I wouldnt its already showing the sort they both are.

May I say I am very sorry about your loss.

GillT57 Wed 21-Aug-19 11:43:58

So sorry for the loss of your daughter. I would do as MOnica suggests, see a solicitor who specialises in trusts and wills and property, don't go for a free half an hour or Citizen's Advice visit, this is too serious. Your whole future is being rushed here, and everyone needs to make sure all parties are happy, legal and safe before the move. What if your DD or SiL need to move for their job? Are you expecting their rent to be part of your retirement income? Don't be rushed into this very important step, you are grieving, not thinking straight, and your daughter should appreciate this fact. This legal advice is also for the benefit of your DD and her family, for their protection too, what about if you remarry? Need care? Decide to sell up and move away? Lots of things to think about and not a decision to be made lightly while everyone is grieving.

4allweknow Wed 21-Aug-19 11:43:54

So sorry about the loss of your daughter. Whilst you will feel you are adding to the atmosphere in the long run you will feel better if you follow up on what you want re the agreement. Go to a solicitor for advice, some kind of rental agreement seems essential in your circumstances. If you don't act now there may be issues arise that will make your life very complicated and create an even more uncomfortable atmosphere. Take it in bite size chunks, you will come through.

nanamac77 Wed 21-Aug-19 11:43:29

I totally agree with all those that say you need legal advice and a proper written agreement. Haven't read every post so sorry if someone has already mentioned this other thing. It's probably a good idea to have a Power of Attorney drawn up ( assuming that you are getting on a bit!). Do NOT give to daughter or anyone with an interest in the house.
I can understand that you're not in the best emotional state and its tempting to let things lie, but you really must protect yourself by acting as if these are your tenants - not relatives. Hopefully you won;t need protection but you MUST prepare for the worst case scenario.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 21-Aug-19 11:41:55

My first thoughts were why oh why did you enter into this arrangement in the first place? You had lost your other daughter and were grieving.Not the right time to make big decisions which property sharing is.
There appears reluctance from other daughter accepting your suggestions and many will agree needs professional advice.Seek this advice and together with my sympathy in the loss of your daughter I sincerely hope you abide by those whose advice you obtainflowers.

barbaranrod Wed 21-Aug-19 11:29:32

please do not sign your house over to your daughter ,well not yet anyway ,get a good solicitor to give you advice ,the reason i say this is because a very dear friend ,when her husband died had daughter husband and children move in with her ,over time they gradually took over the house until she only had a small bedroom to live in ? awful ,then as time went by the husband kept nagging her to sign the house over to them ,which one weak day she did ,the worst mistake of her life ,,she now lives in sheltered accommodation and daughter and family dont see her at all now ,so sad i feel she lost everything she worked for ,,