Need advise? Get in touch!

Sibling Rivalry and Real Estate

It is not always plain sailing when brothers and sisters own real estate together.  It quite often happens, for example, that one sibling lives in the property rent free whilst the other sibling receives no benefit from the property other than the prospect of capital gain.  What happens if that sibling wishes to sell the property and the other wants to stay living in the property?  The law provides a mechanism to force a sale of jointly owned property – although the process can be slow and expensive.   It is difficult for the sibling living in the property to resist the sale unless there is legal agreement permitting the sibling to live in the property (such as a licence or lease) or promises made to the sibling that they can live there for the rest of their life.  In a recent case, Lewin v Lewin [2019] NSWSC 380, 2 sisters were in this predicament. The Court ultimately ordered the sale of the unit (it took more than 12 months) and ordered that the sister living in the property and refusing to agree to the sale should pay half of the legal costs incurred by the sister who wanted the property sold.

The moral of the story is that any sibling finding themselves in joint ownership with another sibling where disputes may arise should think carefully about the legal implications.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standard Legislation

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Contact Us