11:20 AM, 7th December 2014, About 8 years ago 22
I am not actually a landlord, but I own my mother’s house. She is 85 years old, and my brother and his wife moved in a year ago to care for her. There is no formal agreement, or tenancy of any kind.
I offered my brother and his wife a year rent-free as they were in financial difficulties, and about to be evicted for rent arrears to a housing association. I was due to give them the benefit of an AST, but with a token rent, from October 2014. When I reminded him of the agreement, he insisted that I promised never to charge him rent, in “payment” for care duties, and this caused a rift within the family by saying untrue things about me to my mother, frightening her.
They have now formed a unit, and are urging the family to take sides. My brother has set up a standing order to me for £100 (“rent”) a month. He believes that this gives him the rights I promised him before the split, quoting a Facebook set of messages in which I made the offer, as a legally binding agreement. I have written to him twice, and returned cheques for the amount, asking him to cancel the standing order. He refuses. The bank advise me that this cannot be stopped by them, and suggested I involve the Police. I would rather not do this, for obvious reasons.
My solicitor tells me, in an informal chat, that they are “licencees” only, as I own the house outright, and have never charged rent. My brother says my earlier offer of tenancy is binding, and gives him “rights”.
I do not wish to evict him while my mother is alive, but wish to sell the house when she dies. I have not told him of this, but I think he suspects it.
My brother is 52, his wife is 53. He is in poor health, and has not worked for 25 years (by his choice), so has no entitlements to benefits. His wife works 15 hours a week, but is in poor health too. He has a history of rent arrears, so I think they would find it difficult to get alternative accommodation, and I feel that this is the reason he is demanding “rights” from me, as if evicted under an AST he believes he would be eligible for council accommodation. I do not think he would qualify, and fear he might then be entitled to remain in the house.
I am not sure what the legal position is with regard to the promises of a tenancy I made before we fell out.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions