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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11567
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Will states A can stay in house as as he requires to do so.

Customer Question

Will states A can stay in house as long as he requires to do so. Will states he is responsible for general maintenance of house. Is his right to stay in house conditional upon him maintaining it? Does there have to be a time frame stated in will by which it is determined that he has properly maintained property? (in Scots Law)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

The situation in Scotland is exactly the same as it is in England. The timescale would have to be reasonable.

What is reasonable would depend on the circumstances and the extent of what work is required.

If for example slates blew off the roof, they would be required to be replaced very quickly.

If it is a small crack in a pane of glass, that could be several months.

The property doesn’t have to be kept in an immaculate state, it has to be in a reasonable state. It doesn’t have to be improved, it has to be maintained in the condition that it was when the person started to live in it.

It is very common for the remainder men (who will get the property after the life interest) to try to use failure to repair or insure as a way of getting the occupier out. It is not easy because all the occupier needs to do is put the property into good order and defeats the claim.

The property would have to be in a really decrepit condition before the court would even consider throwing the occupier out.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Although useful does not answer whether or how the two statements are linked in terms of the one being conditional on the other. i.e. does being responsible for repairs mean staying in house is conditional on doing any repairs?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

The rating system hasn’t appeared yet but should have done now. That’s because I needed more information before answering you.

Any overhanging branches are trespass and you are entitled to remove the trespass under the doctrine of self-help. You cannot keep the branches, you must return them to the owner. If you keep them, that is theft.

If you are not capable on are not inclined to cut the overhanging branches, you can get a contractor in to do the job for you and seek reimbursement of the cost of that from the neighbour.

If the neighbour will pay the costs, then sue the neighbour in the Small Claims Court. It’s likely that they will only let that once.

Write to the neighbour or better still, get a solicitor to write to the neighbour saying that unless these hedges are cut by a particular date, you will arrange to get them cut and expect neighbour to reimburse you for the cost of the hedge cutting and if that doesn’t happen, you will then be issuing Small Claims Court proceedings to recover the money.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It does not cost you anything but helps us greatly.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Have rated you. I rated you poor service. As I had to ask twice to get you to answer simple question that I asked. You kept asking for more information and when I sent will you said you had not received it yet tired to answer question without it.
Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.

I am a solicitor in Scotland. The right to stay in the house is called a liferent. It is not conditional on the general maintnance being done by the liferenter. However of the work is not done the other beneficiaries can sue for any losses to them as a result of maintenance not being done, for example, a reduction in the value of the property or the cost of repairing excessive damage caused by, say, water damage caused by not fixing roof tiles at the appropriate time. I hope that clarifies the Scots llaw position for you. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did not ask for another solicitor to answer question. Which you have not done anyway. There is no mention of 'liferent' in will!!
That may be another problem!!! Have cancelled membership and asked for no charge to be applied.
Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.

I will opt out as you are clearly not going to accept my (correct) answer so I will not waste your time or mine any further.