Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Can I Be Moved? Homes & Property Lawyer Karen Whitburn Answers Your Questions

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Can I Be Moved? Homes & Property Lawyer Karen Whitburn Answers Your Questions

Article excerpt

Q When my parents moved abroad, they said that I could live in theirhouse rentfree, so long as I took responsibility for repairs and maintenance,and that I could do whatever works I considered necessary. I put in a newkitchen and bathroom. My parents have since died and the executors to theirestate want to sell the house with vacant possession. Can they do so? Contractscreating an interest in land should always be made in writing. However, Iassume that no tenancy agreement was entered into between you and your parents.This situation is not uncommon, but difficulties arise because there are nodocuments to set out the basis of occupation, so confirmation cannot beobtained of the terms of any oral agreement.

A vacant property will sell on the open market at a higher price than aproperty with a permanent occupier. The executors must therefore investigateyour right to remain, to fulfil obligations to get a good price when disposingof assets in accordance with your parents' wills (or the rules of intestacy ifthey had not made wills).

The legal point to be decided is whether you have a purely personal right, orhave acquired some right in the land, ie the right to remain in occupation forlife. If you can show that it would be unconscionable for you to be evicted,having incurred costs (to your detriment) in reliance on your parents' wordsand actions, then you may be able to convince a court that you should beentitled to remain in occupation. The right to stay is not certain and muchwill depend on the conduct of the parties since you moved in. I recommendobtaining specialist legal advice.

Q I work for a large organisation and have been asked to move to Manchester ona temporary basis to assist with a major project there. It will certainly lookgood on my CV to do this, and my prospects within my workplace will improve ifI can show that I am flexible and a team player. …

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