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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10220
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My father died 4 years ago suddenly with cancer and left

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My father died 4 years ago suddenly with cancer and left myself and my brother the family home, but left no will. My brother works in London and has done for years and I live at home but not in the family home as I can't manage the stairs. My father gave us the deeds of the house and his only request was that we did not sell the house. In the last year I was thinking on renting the house out, as its only used 1 week per year when my brother comes home. We have argued over this many times now and I have discovered he has taken the deeds out of the house. The deeds have never been changed from my fathers name .. I think the house will b ruined if unused and would like to know what can I do ?

I know it was your father’s wish that the house was not sold but that is actually not enforceable even if it was in a will.

Does your brother want to sell the house? If not, what does he want?

What do you want to happen to it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi,my brother just wants the house for somewhere to stay when he comes home once a year. i would like the house cleared out now with intention on renting it out as it will b looked after.. he has no intention in renting , spoke about buying me out but said he has no money.. he has said he will just do nothing, as i can do nothing unless he agrees it.thanks

The situation is straightforward. Your father’s wishes are not in a will and although you may not want to ignore them, they can be ignored.

If you can’t agree with your brother as to what happens to the house, then it gets sold and the proceeds divided. As simple as that.

You cannot rent it out without your brother’s consent.

Your brother cannot leave it empty without your consent.

It is unreasonable of your brother to expect you to be hanging around at his convenience and if he wants the property to be there waiting for him, he’s going to have to pay you 50% of the market rent per annum. It would be cheaper for him to stay in a posh hotel. He doesn’t pay the other half of the market rent because obviously, that is his share of the property

If you can’t come to a meeting of minds, then your remedy is to apply to court for an order to sell the house. He would be ill-advised to defend that because he would lose and usually the court costs would be awarded against him and in your favour.

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Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi,its just as i expected but its now good to have it in black and white..kind regards..Gary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1 more thingwhat about him taking the deeds out of the house??tks

You might want to put this answer in front of your brother because if he refuses to sell the house and it goes to court, you will get the order and will get caught and solicitors costs awarded against him which is why I said that he would be ill-advised to defend the application.

He is no more entitled to the deeds of the house when you are although it is registered at the Land Registry NI, they are actually of no value.

If this is not registered, as part of the application, you can make a court application (and ask for more costs) to compel him to release the deeds. Once again, he would be ill-advised to hang onto them faced with an application for an order for sale.

If he sticks to his guns the buries his head in the sand tries to defend this, he will lose and you will get costs awarded against him.

He needs to take legal advice. If you want to ask the question on here, I can answer him directly there if you wants a third party, he can always ask for any other expert and say that he doesn’t want me because I dealt with your question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am pleased to have helped. Best wishes.