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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 23736
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My mother died and left her share of the house to me and my

Customer Question

My mother died and left her share of the house to me and my sister, we have 60% and he has 40%. It states we need to know that the house is kept in a good state of repair. We have tried to organise and send a surveyor to the house, but my mother’s husband is saying it needs to a structural survey. Is this correct?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: south east England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: we organised with him for a survey to be done, meant to be going tomorrow. He is saying no photographs and also a cursory walk through is not enough
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: i don’t think so
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 11 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Why are you having to keep it in good repair and not her husband?

does he have leave to stay in property?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
He can stay in the property until either dying or moving. It states in the will that it needs to kept in a good state of repair. Because we are not on good terms the only way we can know this, is by having a third party do an inspection, to keep our 60% share
Expert:  Stuart J replied 11 days ago.

You say that your mother left her share of the house to you and your sister but then say that we have 60% and he has 40%.  I’m sorry to say that all but I don’t actually know who has what because that doesn’t make sense.  You may be saying that your mother’s husband has 40% and you and your sister have 60%.

There is no reason why it should need a structural survey based upon what you’ve told me.  I cannot see why there should be no photographs if cursory walk-through is not enough.  None of this is making sense.

If your mother died and left whatever share of the house to you and your sister subject to him living in it until he dies or doesn’t want to, but that is subject to him keeping the property in a good state of repair, a lot depends on the terms of exactly what it says.

For example, 1) , if the property has to be kept in a good state of repair it has to be good regardless of the current conditions.

If on the other hand 2)  it says the property has to be maintained, it only has to be maintained in the current condition regardless of what that is.

What it would need therefore could potentially be either a full structural survey in the case of 1) good state of repair or just a schedule of condition in the case of 2) maintaining it.  Maintaining it does not mean improving it.

Let me just tell you now that if you are thinking of trying to get him out, by alleging that he is not maintaining or repairing the property, it’s going to be an uphill struggle unless he is blatantly letting the place fall into rack and ruin.  I have a personal friend in exactly the same situation as he is in and the residuary beneficiaries have been trying to get him out for 10 years and so far, they have wasted GBP20,000 in trying to get him out to no avail.  He is maintaining the property because that’s all he has to do.  Because he gets free legal advice from me, they have actually given up.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
my mums husband has 40% and me and my sister have 60%. We are not trying to get him out, just merely follow the requests of our mother. It says keep the property in good repair. Which one would this fall under? Do we have to check the property annually? Would he have to let us know of any repairs?
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
You may gather from this me and my sister do not get on with him, and he keeps emailing telling us what we can/can’t do.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 11 days ago.

Keeping the property in good repair means that if it’s a wreck now it has to be put into good condition.  At least, that is the way that a lease would be interpreted and in my opinion that’s how this would be interpreted.

Maintaining the property is distinct, keep it as it is.

If the property is falling down and you maintain it so that it still falling down but no worse than it was, then on a literal interpretation it cannot be in good repair.

I hope that makes sense.

You will be able to check the property as often as is a reasonable and annually is probably more than reasonable unless, just on a drive-by look at the outside, there is something which flags up as requiring action.

He is not under a duty to let you know what he is doing.

He is just under a duty to do it.