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to live rent-free in parents' home

(64 Posts)
yakketyyak Mon 09-Nov-15 01:44:40

My mother died a year ago and my father has advanced dementia and lives in a 'memory care' home. I have one sister who lives near my father and I have two brothers who, like me, live very far away. A year ago I decided to move to live near my father and help out my (retired) sister who bears the brunt of stuff to do with my father's care. My sister travels a lot (for weeks on end) so I am the constant presence. My job is flexible, as is my hubby's, so off we went with teenage son in tow.

So we now live in my parents' former home. No one's planning to sell it until our father passes (he's 90) and no one feels like renting it out. So... aibu to live in it rent-free for 2-3 years while helping spruce it up for eventual sale, visiting my father twice a week and paying all the utilities and other bills? Or might my siblings feel I'm taking advantage...? They are all v happy I've moved to be near our dad but sometimes I think I feel a weird vibe...

One thing I should add, I guess, is that none of my siblings is hard up money-wise.

TheBouquets Mon 09-Nov-15 02:00:56

I think it is Ok to live rent free in your parents' house if you are providing the care and presence in his life. Just treat it as your siblings "paying" for your services to Dad especially if they are not doing much or anything to help.
No matter what you do likely some sibling who will say something is out of place.

Mmmmcake123 Mon 09-Nov-15 02:09:30

It doesn't sound wrong atm unless you are hoping to make a claim on the house as a resident and main carer. Depends on the will I suppose.

ReallyTired Mon 09-Nov-15 02:23:44

I think you are exploiting the situation. You should be paying your father some rent. It would be interesting to see how the court of protection views an adult child living rent free while the father is in a nursing home.

How much does it cost to rent a house similar to your father's?

yakketyyak Mon 09-Nov-15 02:33:28

It probably costs quite a lot to rent a house similar to my father's. He does not need or want the rent, that's one thing certain (his pension covers his living expenses). It would be my siblings who might feel I'm taking advantage, if anyone.

I'm not sure how, though, as I'm not costing them anything and am actually paying some bills that would fall to us all if I weren't paying them (eg council tax).

Want2bSupermum Mon 09-Nov-15 02:39:39

I think it depends if you caring for your father leaves you out of pocket. If it doesn't I think you should offer to pay rent but only the rent for a place you would have lived, such as a 2 bed flat in the same area.

I think you need to be aware that your sister has been doing the car with no financial break so I don't think you should expect one.

ReallyTired Mon 09-Nov-15 02:39:40

Do your siblings want you to sell? Have they expressed any objections? If you do up the property then it will make your siblings money. If a house is left empty then you risk having squatters.

Cicero7 Mon 09-Nov-15 02:57:58

Have you asked them how they feel about the situation? You could offer to pay 'something' and see what the reaction is. I suspect that they would probably say no, you are doing everyone a favour, but at least then it would be out in the open and you would not be feeling uncomfortable.

Toadinthehole Mon 09-Nov-15 03:14:29

I assume you and your siblings will all get a share in the estate under your DF's will. If so, you should discuss it with them and come to an agreed arrangement. I think whatever you all agree to is by definition fair, and therefore reasonable. You do not want to be in a situation where your siblings think they have been kept in the dark. Leaving aside the legalities, it would cause a lot of bad feeling.

You say your DF has dementia - who is responsible for managing his affairs? That person would also need to be kept in the loop.

funnyperson Mon 09-Nov-15 03:16:15

If you live there while sprucing it up for eventual sale you are 'adding value' and also developing some sort of residential rights (i dont know the law exactly). I think you should be paying a market rent and the utilities and have a formal shorthold tenancy agreement with your dad, assuming he has the capacity to sign one.
What I see coming is him dying and you saying to your sibs that you have a right to live on in the house because you have spruced it up, are settled there, cant find anywhere else at short notice etc etc.
Anyway its not upto you to say whether your dad needs the money, its upto him. Even though he is 90 he might want the money to give to a charity of his choice or go on a cruise.

funnyperson Mon 09-Nov-15 03:29:11

Its upto him and the people he gave power of attorney to for financial affairs
Unless your dad is a billionaire I dont see how you can say he doesnt need the money. He must need the money otherwise he would be paying your sister for her time. He could pay for extra physio or speech therapy or outings.
I don't really know the answers. I suspect empty housing of elderly people in care homes who have children with their families needing a roof will become a more common occurrence. But, like grandparents looking after grandchildren when both parents go out to work, moving into your elderly parents' home can be subject to abuse. There are so many advantages. But so many pitfalls too. For instance, if you are in his home why cant you look after him in his own home?

Im0gen Mon 09-Nov-15 04:43:15

Well if you weren't living there , someone would have to pay the council tax, heating bills and insurance . The insurance would be high as the house would be sitting empty and vulnerable . What about maintaining the garden and the house ? would these costs fall to your father or to you and your siblings ?

How much would you be able to get in rent for your father house in the condition it's in ? Does it still have all his belongings in it ? You could work that out , then deduct amounts for your labour in doing up the house and storage costs for furniture and the costs that would otherwise fall to your father or to you all .

So that would be a lot less than the market rent for a secure tenancy for an empty property in good condition in that area .

That still takes no account of the fact that you have moved your whole family to be near your father and care for him . Unlike any of your siblings .

Senpai Mon 09-Nov-15 05:56:55

If the house would neither be sold nor rented than you living there is actually saving him money by paying the utility bills and keeping it maintained. Otherwise, he'd be losing money paying bills on a place he isn't even living in.

We have a similar situation with FIL. He has a house that is the opposite of handicap accessible that he can no longer live in. He'd be paying mortgage on it anyway and has no plans of selling it as he would likely lose money. So he's allowed us to stay in it rent free, where we are fixing it up and generally taking care of it. I think having an extra property gives him some perks when it comes to taking out loans and stuff, not sure. There's a practical reason he keeps it around instead of selling it otherwise he'd just cut his losses.

Anyway, as long as everyone is happy, I don't see the problem. I would think about hours worked caring for him and see how much a carer would be paid. If the time you put in equals rent I'd consider it even. Otherwise, I'd talk to your siblings to see how they feel about it. Personally if my sibling lived in my parents house to help take care of them when I couldn't I wouldn't care if he was paying rent or not.

Your time is invaluable. If you want you can put the money you're saving into some perks for your dad to make his stay easier or to save up for funeral costs (including reception) so it's a nice one.

greenfolder Mon 09-Nov-15 06:02:12

Are you profiting I suppose is the question? Eg if you were renting out your own home and stashing large amounts of cash it might be different. But in reality, if no one else is willing or able to do it and you intend to vacate quickly if house needs to be sold it seems ok.

Shutthatdoor Mon 09-Nov-15 06:04:47

That still takes no account of the fact that you have moved your whole family to be near your father and care for him . Unlike any of your siblings

Except until recently her sister has done all of the care as OP lived far away.

I can see tbh how the DSis may feel a bit peeved. Especially as DF care won't be taking place actually in his home.

Pythonesque Mon 09-Nov-15 06:05:10

I'd want to check any potential tax implications, both income tax and inheritance tax. Make sure you know what (if anything) happens in both these areas if 1) you pay a market rent, 2) you pay a below-market rent, with or without a clear listing of what you are doing in return, or 3) you pay no rent. On what basis is your father's care home paid for - is he funded / partly or completely self-funding?

The question of building up residency rights is potentially a serious one - might I suggest that is perhaps the most important part to put in writing with your siblings so that they are reassured you won't be making inappropriate claims when it comes time to sell up.

wannabestressfree Mon 09-Nov-15 06:08:04

I would just ask them.... And have mapped out what you intend on doing.

Dumdedumdedum Mon 09-Nov-15 06:24:40

Yes, I would just ask your siblings, too, and also whoever, if anyone (most likely the sister who has done much of the caring up till now), holds Lasting Powers of Attorney for your father. ( )

Pseudo341 Mon 09-Nov-15 06:33:02

Can't find a tactful way of saying this, if your father's likely to die fairly soon all you'll be doing is adding to his estate to be taxed. We lived in my grandma's house for while when we needed to move back home but our house wouldn't sell and she'd just gone into a nursing home. Once our place sold we paid a very small amount of rent in one lump sum directly to the other beneficiaries of her will rather than add to her estate, but by this time we already knew she was terminally ill. Her place sold soon after and we bought again locally. (In case anyone thinks I'm sounding rather callous, my Grandma was an amazing woman but for the last couple of years of her life she had no quality of life whatsoever and suffered a great deal, it was awful).

In our case we were being done a favour in being able to live in the house, but you've specifically moved in order to help your dad so I think that does make a difference. I think the thing to do is to have an honest chat with your siblings and see what they think.

AuntieStella Mon 09-Nov-15 06:56:29

Who holds his financial POA?

I think you need their explicit permission, and a letter setting out the exact terms of your occupancy.

mrsjanedoe Mon 09-Nov-15 07:10:22

Money spoils everything unfortunately. Even if you did move with the best intentions, and are spending a lot to help selling the house eventually, it seems likely that your siblings will resent you.

From experience, people accuse each other of stealing valuables left in the house, will calculate how much money you have saved by not paying rent (but completely ignore the amounts you have paid in utility bills and renovation!).

It's very very sad, I hope your siblings are different, but it wouldn't be really surprising if things go sour between you.

I do think you are NOT BU, but most people are as soon as money is involved.

Katarzyna79 Mon 09-Nov-15 07:15:22

My situations soundsike urs except i moved across uk, and took my dad into my home. His home was lived in by my adult siblings and partners amd kidsrent free, turns out they even used his pension for utilities coz one sibling would beumbered with bills others were nevrr available to organise a family pot even though they all work full time.

They are easy going nice people so it seems i think they got cushy coz parents molly cuddled aftee mum died they carried on as normal only using dads money now, sadly my oldest sis encouragee them to do this so they thought it was right!?if they had provided care i may have overlooked it but he was nehlected badly. When i point this out im made to feel the bad guy. He was literally in his own urine i couldnt ignore it. They didnt wantvto clean him or get help from council. Wen i suggested help rather than neglect,
theyd get all funny with me defensive?

So we sold our business moved our kids family to be near dad and took him no one screamed desent they were quite relieved but i get these same vibes as u describe. ie sis wanted dads pension got mad i changed his address so they mever had access. Ibe put it into his own account now and only use for his needs if we are short otherwise its accumulating. My sis wanted some to pay standing charges on dads house. I said no everyone lived there rent free utilityfreewas that right? now everyone conveniently moved out bevause they dont want to pay and the house in such a state why should he pay standing charges? i told them to sell it or do stamding chargesbetween them. Now i get the feeling theyre all making me the bad guy on insitgation of my sis.

So i would say no dont stay at ur dads. Rent ur own place, do u can for ur father. f you have the means to do up ur dads place for sale do it, but really they should all chip in.

SouthWesterlyWinds Mon 09-Nov-15 07:21:47

When you say spruce it up for later selling, are we talking decorating every room, new bathroom & kitchen, new windows with no charges to either DF or siblings?

Katarzyna79 Mon 09-Nov-15 07:24:02

i shoukd point out one of them is so wealthy he could have done up parental home easily alone. Othes dont havevgreat jobs but cuda chipped in. I feel resentment coz he went and put diwn huge sum on his own home soon as i took dad but couldnt do basic stuff at dads like toilet handle broken couldnt get new one?, they all use it? No didnt matter other toilets so who cares right?: i feel disgust when. I think of the neglect dogs shouldnt be left like that. They do resent me why i dont know or care i plan to move awat from them because they will continue to hound me for his pension, recently they want it to do house up lol and use aa holiday home whilst i get no helpim caring for dad yeah rightlol

christinarossetti Mon 09-Nov-15 07:29:16

Given that the house belongs to your father, surely his opinion is the most important.

I appreciate that he has dementia, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't have capacity to decide whether he is happy with you living in his home or not.

II hope that should I develop dementia, people don't automatically assume that the Court of Protection knows my own mind better than me, without even asking me.

There are potential issues building up for the future, as other posters have explained, which I would seek legal advice about.

Has your father made a will, out of interest, do you know?

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