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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 35044
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I am a tenant in common with my mother, we each own a 50:50

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I am a tenant in common with my mother, we each own a 50:50 share of a house. She is now in a care home and the pension service have said her share is worth c£40k, which is approx half the value of the whole property. I live in the property and it has been my home for the last 46 years. I do not want to sell and I can't afford to buy her out. How can her share be worth what they say? Who would buy half a property with a sitting 'tenant' if I do not want to move? How can I persuade the pension service that their valuation is incorrect?
Any help would be very much appreciated.
Thank you for your question
My name is Clare
I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When you say Pension Service - do you mean the Local Authority in respect of Care Home fees?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello Clare. I would be glad of any assistance.
No, currently the local authority are disregarding the value of the property but I have just had a change of financial advisor so that may change and I am worried about that also. The issue that I am currently querying is in respect of my mother's entitlement to pension credit. They say that she is not entitled to savings or guarantee credit due to level of assumed capital. She would be entitled to GC if they did not include assumed capital in their assessment. The new financial advisor at LA has assumed that mam should be entitled to GC.
Do you mean that they are assigning a notional income to this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes Clare. A tariff income is applied to any capital above the first £10,000 and so they say mam has too much income to qualify for savings or guarantee credit. They believe that the house could be sold with a court order and she would realise her actual share of the property. That would effectively make me homeless as I cannot afford to buy her out and I don't know what would happen if a stranger bought her share. I don't know what to do or what my legal rights are. Please can you help?
Have you asked the Local Authority to reassess on the basis that she does NOT get this credit?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Clare. It is not really the local authority that is the problem at the moment. It is that I believe that the pension service cannot say that she can realise the value of her asset and therefore cannot assign it such a high value. Let's say she wanted to sell her half, I cannot afford to buy it and I do not want to sell my half to sell the property as a whole. What is the likelihood that the courts would force a sale and what would that cost both parties?
May I ask how old you are?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I'm 46. I've lived in this property since I was born with my parents and have looked after them as they have got older. My dad died five years ago at the age of 86 and my mam is 88. Last year I had to make the very difficult decision that I was no longer able to give her the care she needed and work full time. I have no partner and no children.
Unfortunately the rules for pension Credit are very strict
They are set out in more details here
and since it is indeed a legal fact that your mother could force an immediate sale of the property to obtain her share of the equity (not that she would of course) the valuation is likely to be correct.
You have two choices.
You can launch an appeal based on the fact that this area of benefit law is out of step with the Local Authority approach for care costs - but given the political climate on benefits this is likely to be along and costly fight.
Alternatively you can ask the LA to do a reassessment based on the fact that there is no Pension Credit involved
Sorry to give you such bad news - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you