Inherited property and Housing Benefits

  Cara2 22:39 10 May 2012

Any law minder people out there?

My question will be general, as I do not expect or would be allowed (I would have thought) any specific legal advice on here.

Four people own an inherited property. If three people wish to sell does the forth person have to agree?

For the purpose of housing benefits, would a quarter share (in bricks and mortar) be considered as 'savings'.

Thank you, Cara

  Forum Editor 22:57 10 May 2012

"If three people wish to sell does the forth person have to agree?"

This is a very common situation, and the answer can depend on the circumstances surrounding the inheritance. People who leave houses to their children generally intend all of them to own an equal share, and unless there was a special condition attached to the legacy - such as a parent expressly wishing the youngest child to have a guaranteed home until the age of majority, for example - all parties must agree to a sale before the property can be disposed of. If one person refuses to sell there's not much the others can do.

As far as assessments for some benefits go, it's often the case that a local authority will consider what's called a 'beneficial interest' in a property as an asset, and they will place a value on it. This happens when assessing the amount an authority will be prepared to pay for care home fees, for instance.

As always where legal matters are concerned, you should take advice from a solicitor - I'm not one, and you shouldn't rely on what I say, or what anyone else here says by way of advice.

  lotvic 00:38 11 May 2012

I advise getting professional advice on that, when I enquired re Housing Benefit on behalf of an in-law I was told:

"Capital is the market value of an asset when a claim is made. i.e: what would the claimant / partner get if they sold / cashed in their assets? If there is a charge to cash in the asset, for example, when selling stocks and shares, 10% is taken off the market value and the remainder is what is used in Council Tax Benefit/Housing Benefit.

Capital: property (other than the home you live in), savings, premium bonds, national savings certificates, stocks and shares and so on.

Deprivation of capital: if we think someone has deprived themselves of capital to get (or to get more) Council Tax Benefit/Housing Benefit, we treat them as still having that capital. Such capital is called notional capital.

Proof: bank books, premium bonds, bank statements, national savings certificates. We do not need to see proof if capital is £6000 or less for working age people or £10000 for state pension credit age people."

  interzone55 10:25 11 May 2012

I've known this to happen, and the outcome was that after many years one person bought out his two siblings share of the property for considerably less than market value. He now lives in a very nice house and his siblings have squandered the money he paid them...

  spuds 12:26 11 May 2012

lotvic, I am not disagreeing at all in what you say, because it makes very interesting and sensible reading.

But one thing that I would possibly suggest is how other council's seek or require 'Proof' in respect of the items you mention. My local major council 'insist' that 'all' evidence of 'Proof' is required, when making a claim.

One thing that I find very strange, is the supposed methods of seeking out fraud, and the options and powers council's now have. Yet at the same time, it would appear that my local city council will not talk with my local county council?.

Cara2, didn't you ask this or a similar question a few months ago?.

  lotvic 13:52 11 May 2012

I didn't offer my own opinion, other than to advise getting professional advice. Make of it what you will, the rest of my post was a quote from a word.doc from Freedom of Information - ask a question

  zzzz999 06:52 14 May 2012

Not sure if this is UK wide or Scotland only but if inherited property and the one child who does not wish to sell cannot buy out the the other three children then the other three children can through their lawyers seek an action of division and sale and the house will be sold.

With regard to Housing Benefit, is there not an assets cut off point, i.e. if you have more than £16,000 in cash or cash equivalents you do not get housing benefit.

  BRYNIT 08:43 14 May 2012

I do not know the correct answer but something to consider.

  1. If you rent the property you will have an income that will be calculated against your benefits.

  2. If you do not rent or sell the property you will still be liable for partial costs of any maintenance, council tax, water rates etc.

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