Removing Sister from a joint ownership property?

by Readers Question

10:13 AM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Removing Sister from a joint ownership property?

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Removing Sister from a joint ownership property?

Hi Guys – My sister and I were left our mothers house several months ago and my sister is refusing to sell the house or pay the utility bills and is living in the house by her own choice and without my permission.

I am now receiving threatening letters from the gas and electricity company over non payment as they have been put into my name.

I’ve read a couple of articles about landlords rights as with regards to disconnecting supplies and having their hands tied. As I am receiving no rent and there is no tenancy agreement, then can I request to have the gas and electricity supply cut off?

Thanks
Harry

Comments

MargaretM

11:07 AM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I would let the utilities be disconnected. You probably need to see a lawyer to see how to proceed in forcing a sale and evicting her as she is part owner and therefore not a tenant.
This will have happened before so there will be some precedents to apply to the situation.

JohnCaversham

11:11 AM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Harry, sorry to hear about your predicament, is your sister struggling with mental health post your mums death I wonder? Anyway in law I don't see that she has become 'your tenant' as she owns 50% of the property? Unless there was another arrangement verbal or otherwise in the background? I would advise the utility companies that the bills are not your responsibly and have them transferred into her name including council tax. Then-you'll need sound legal advice going fwd maybe citizens advice, or free consultation with a reputable legal firm, as I assume there will be death duties to cover in good time and the revenue will demand their funds one way or another. Best of luck John M

MargaretM

11:20 AM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Here's a link that explains clearly the two different types of joint ownership and states that to get the other owner to sell you will need a court order
https://www.peabodysales.co.uk/blog/buy-sell/a-solicitors-guide-to-joint-ownership-of-property/

Graham Bowcock

11:40 AM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

As said by others - get yourself a good property/family lawyer.

As is often the case, your post raises as many questions as there are answers

You have said that your are collecting rent and may therefore have created a tenancy - if this is so then your sister may have rights as a tenant. Tread carefully. Occupation can be different from ownership.

I would not get utilities cut off (if you do have a landlord/tenant situation then that is harassment). How did the utilities get into your name? Did you agree? Why can't you get them changed to your sister's name?

Your simple question may not have a simple answer.

MargaretM

11:56 AM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Graham Bowcock at 27/04/2021 - 11:40
The poster said no rent or tenancy agreement. If he is a half owner then utilities might correctly be in joint names but he would still have some liability to pay and the only remedy the company has it to terminate the supply.
That would concentrate her mind.

Ian Cognito

12:07 PM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Out of interest, Harry, who put the utilities into your name? Assuming that your mother left a will, who is/are the executor/s?

Graham Bowcock

12:23 PM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by MargaretM at 27/04/2021 - 11:56
Sorry Margaret, I misread that, you are quite correct.

NewYorkie

12:27 PM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Harry, this is a very difficult situation. I've been there and I'm sorry to say, there is no easy way out if a joint owner refuses to leave or sell.

As advised, your first step is to remove your name from the utilities and council tax. How are you receiving the bills, by the way? However, it's unlikely she would be cut off any time soon, if at all.

If you want to sell, the next step is tough; take legal action, which will be long drawn out and costly. There is no legal aid for this because you have 'assets' (the house you jointly own!), and typically, it is the party with the most resources who wins.

Unfortunately for you, your sister can continue living at the property until the court says she must leave.

In my situation, my friends partner moved his girlfriend into the jointly owned home (in which my friend had put most of her money, while he had taken a mortgage for his share... warning bells already!) and refused my friend access. She was forced to live in a small flat with no money while she went to court to recover her money through the sale of the house. He had a well-paid job and an aggressive lawyer who repeated his lies, obfuscated and delayed, all the time building up huge legal bills! He even tried to force her to pay a share of the mortgage! The court eventually ordered the sale of the house, but he sabotaged every reasonable offer to buy, introduced a fake buyer with a good offer who then delayed his 'purchase' for 5 months and then pulled out just before Exchange, until she was forced out of desperation and looming financial ruin to sell it to him at a knock-down price.

MargaretM

13:01 PM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by NewYorkie at 27/04/2021 - 12:27
That's a wicked and despicable thing to do.

NewYorkie

13:09 PM, 27th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by MargaretM at 27/04/2021 - 13:01
Yes, and that wasn't the half of it! I wouldn't wish someone dead, but in that occasion...

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