NSW Deed of Agreement and Ungrateful Children - Recourse Under Property Law?

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8 October 2014
In 2011, I offered my daughter and now son in law, an opportunity to enter the property market with my help. I sold my large home that I could no longer maintain due to ongoing disabilities and as my daughter was my carer, thought it would be beneficial for all parties. I have been the main carer for my 2 granddaughters for the past 6 and 1/2 years as well whilst they work. A property was purchased and I paid an $80,000 deposit plus all lawyer fees and bank fees for their small mortgage of $220,000. I had the electricity connected as well so basically they just had to move in. I had a legal "Deed of Agreement" drawn up by a solicitor that stipulates each parties rights and responsibilities and we all signed it. I renovated my little flat underneath their large 3 bed residence at my own cost and moved in 18 months later. The deed states that they are fully responsible for the mortgage to be paid by direct deposit, the water and land rates, their share of the electricity, house insurance and maintenance for their residence and the outside area of the building . I am responsible for my own maintenance on my flat and share of electricity.

Since day 1, the deed has not been adhered to and the mortgage not paid regularly, land rates in arrears, electricity account unpaid, and to top it off they have completely wrecked the house inside and out. The beautiful house I bought is a mere shell of what it was and not worth much at all. Yes, during all this I continued to care for the granddaughters every day all at my cost. I've begged and pleaded with them to comply with the deed but nothing. Last Saturday (14th) I called them in for yet another chat, no remorse and was told that they couldn't give a "****" about me or the house. I am drowning in sorrow for the way I've been used and am struggling to come to terms with not being able to see my granddaughters again. I finally said no more childcare and after 4 years on the honour system with regards to paying bills, I am seeking legal help to enforce the deed. They are still upstairs and since Saturday have made my life a misery by inflicting excessive noise and door slamming on me.

Today I received a court notice for rates and the power is about to be disconnected as I do not have the means to pay their share. I survive on a disability support pension and due to bailing them out over the last 4 years and caring for their 2 girls I am now destitute. Meanwhile they can't afford to feed their 2 children but are about to have a 3rd. They purchased a brand new colorado ute and a cruze in September last year but can't pay for them either. I don't want to lose my grandgirls but I'm over it all and am very depressed as the future is bleak and I have no other living relatives, just her. She has a shopping addiction and he is an alcoholic and gambler. If the house is lost I face homelessness and am extremely anxious.

Any offers of help would be greatly appreciated as at 58 I can't start again. I know that I should never have entered into this debacle but my daughter used to be a beautiful caring young woman and I wanted to help her and the girls before I died. No mother forsees her child changing into someone she doesn't recognise.

Many Thanks


Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
Hi Kerrie,

I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing this. I hope that you can resolve this situation so that you can find a better living situation.

There are a few issues here so firstly it would be good to know what you want.
1. The house is being trashed so I assume that you want that to stop? Is your name on the Certificate of Title? If so, you may be able to get an injunction to stop your daughter and her husband damaging the property plus potential damages compensation.
2. I am not sure what will happen with the electricity. How do you know which part of the electricity is yours and which is the house's usage? Are you separately metered? If you are, I suggest you contact the company and explain that you are only bound to pay for your metered electricity and see what can be done. If you aren't separately metered, I suggest that you look into doing that.
3. If you aren't on the mortgage, the bank cannot come after you for the money but they may try recover the debt by forcing a sale of the house.
4. Rates. Have you tried to contact the council and notify them of the deed and what is going on?
5. Have you heard back from the lawyer that drafted the deed yet?

What is the ideal outcome for you in this situation? Do you want your daughter and her husband to leave? Do you want to recover your share of the investment in the house so you can live elsewhere?

I think that from here your best bet would be to contact a property lawyer and go from there.