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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 10279
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My elderly neighbour who I care given a live tenency

Customer Question

Hi, my elderly neighbour who I care for was given a live tenency for her property around 40 years ago, and has lived there for around 70 years. The property, part of a larger estate has changed hands a couple of times now and the current owner has started to throw his weight around a bit and often mentions the fact he has no legal obligation to keep her there. I think she has outlived his expectations and while he pays nothing towards her or the upkeep of the house I suspect he would like to have a paying tenency in. Ideally she would like to buy it so she could feel more secure but we have no idea if she has any right to do this regardless of whether he wanted to sell. Where could she start to look into this?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Scots Law
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I should clarify that this is in Scotland, and there is and never has been any rent paid. It was originally a cottage she shared with her husband and they both worked on the estate. After they retired they were allowed to live there rent free and the life tenancy was included in one of the previous owners wills as gratitude for so many years of service.
Expert:  JGM replied 7 months ago.

It sounds like this is not a tenancy at all but a liferent. The reason I say that is because this was set up in a will by the deceased owner. A liferent is a right to live in a property or to occupy land for the duration of your life. The liferent is occupied by what is called the liferenter. The ownership of the property is that of the fiar, generally the beneficiary under the will. So you have liferent and fee. The fiar has no obligation to maintain the property. But he has no right to occupy it until the liferenter dies or renounces the liferent. The liferenter has the right to live there until death or otherwise to enjoy the "fruits of the property" such as the rents for example. The liferenter is responsible for the upkeep. The fiar is not. There is no right to buy. If the liferenter wants to but there would have to be an agreement with the fiar. However, he can't throw his weight about as the liferenter has an absolute right of occupation until death. That is not a right of tenancy. It is an absolute right of occupation. Happy to discuss further. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 10279
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your detailed answer. I'm not convinced it is a liferent as you describe only because previously it was a given that maintenance to the external of the property ie roofs leaks etc were carried out by the owner. There was never anything of any significance anyway but it was only under the current owner that this stopped. She had mentioned some rendering was falling off and he phoned me up and got me to tell her he would not be carrying out any work to the property and although he wasn't going to kick her out he was only letting her stay out of the goodness of his heart. I thought this odd, but he is an accountant and very thorough so I can assume he knows which side of the law he stands on. In any case, the question is the same, if it was a life tenency as opposed to a life rent does she have any entitlement to buy the house?
Expert:  JGM replied 7 months ago.

No she doesn't as its a private tenancy and there is no right to buy.

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