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VIC Property Law - Forced to Sell Family Property?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Tess Oliver, 11 February 2015.

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  1. Tess Oliver

    Tess Oliver Active Member

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    My ex-husband has resided on his elderly father's property (near Melbourne) since 1996 rent-free. He erected some buildings on the property some years ago which now have to be demolished as they were apparently not built according to regulations, and he will have to find somewhere else to live.

    He is trying to force his father to sell the property and give him $300K+ as he claims that all the work he has done on the property over the years added that amount of value to it. His father is over 90 years old.

    I assume he (ex-husband) has no legal leg to stand on here, but his father seems to think he has and is considering selling up and moving into a rented place.
     
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tess,

    Has you ex-husband provided his father with a letter from a solicitor? Is there a law that he has mentioned that he is using to justify his claim?
    Knowing what correspondence has occurred between them would be useful in understanding the basis on which he is trying to make the claim.

    The living arrangements and agreement between your ex-husband and his father are also relevant to determining whether your ex has a claim. For example, there may have been an arrangement whereby instead of paying rent, your ex did work around the property. If so, it's unlikely that he could claim money back from this.

    Alternatively, it is common for children to invest in their parent's estate, knowing that the added value will come to them in inheritance. So any further information you can give will be appreciated.

    I also think that your ex-husband's father should seek legal advice on this matter.
     
  3. Tess Oliver

    Tess Oliver Active Member

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    Hello
    thanks for your reply. I am unable to provide more detail. I do think he has provided a solicitor's letter claiming that he has added value to the property and should therefore receive compensation but I don't know the details of it.

    Can I ask a general question anyway - I assume a parent cannot be forced into selling their property by one of their children in order to give them early inheritance?
     
  4. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    In short, no. If a child doesn't have any title (ownership or rights) over their parent's land, then they cannot force their parent to sell it.
     
  5. Tess Oliver

    Tess Oliver Active Member

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    Thanks - that is what I would have assumed. Thanks for your help!
     
  6. ClareB

    ClareB Well-Known Member

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    Tess, by the sounds of your concern, I would recommend that you try and ascertain whether or not your ex-husband's elderly father is legally represented. As per above comments made by Ivy, there may be some agreements that were in place which may complicate the matter and leave your ex-husband's father disadvantaged.

    If he is not legally represented, you may want to (without stepping on any toes) caution your ex-husband's father into retaining a lawyer.
     
  7. Tess Oliver

    Tess Oliver Active Member

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    Thank you ClareB - yes he was legally represented but I don't think he is now. I have sent him some info in the mail about legal aid which he would certainly be entitled to.
    As far as I know there were never any written agreements regarding the property between them. I could be wrong of course, especially as my ex-husband has a way of hassling people to agree to things he wants until they give way. I certainly hope that is not the case here.
     
  8. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tess,

    Even if there wasn't any written agreement, the fact that your ex-husband did work around the property may still be taken as consideration (payment or services offered) for being able to live there. Contracts can be verbal, written and implied (non verbal). So tell him not to lose hope even if nothing was formally agreed to.

    In regards to legal aid, give them a call by all means however they may not offer assistance with property matters. If they don't, they may still be able to assist your ex-husband's father to find a solicitor who can assist pro bono. Most of the big firms set a certain number of hours/ clients that they represent pro bono each year.
     
  9. Tess Oliver

    Tess Oliver Active Member

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    Thanks for your help Ivy.

    He told me he did have a pro-bono lawyer but that this lawyer 'got sick of them' when they couldn't come to an agreement. Hopefully Legal Aid can help in some way.

    (The work done by my ex husband around the property was not of any benefit to his father, and the buildings have to be demolished anyway.
    I was there for the first 10 years - my in-laws were doing us a favour in allowing us to stay there as we had a new baby and no full time work).
     

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