Money Moral Dilemma: Should I take legal action against my daughter?

MSE_Kelvin Posts: 332
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MSE Staff
edited 24 January 2023 at 2:56PM in MoneySaving mums
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

Four years ago I remortgaged my cottage to help my daughter buy a house, and since then she's been paying me back in monthly instalments. But after her recent wedding we fell out, and she's stopped repaying me. I'm not well and live on a low income, and have started to think the only way to get my money back is to take legal action. Yet her husband has no idea I bought half the house, and I worry that if I do take legal action I'll cause problems in their marriage and she'll never speak to me again. But why should I struggle when they have a decent joint-income?

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  • nczm
    nczm Posts: 58
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    Write them a letter first. Perhaps to your daughter first and then as a couple if not response.

    Keep it factual:
     on x date x party sought a loan from you which was provided on x date.
    The following repayment terms were agreed: abcd
    Since x date the payments have ceased and you would like to begin the process of reinstating the regular payment and collecting overdue payments.

    Realistically you’ve nothing to lose as your daughter isn’t speaking to you any way, but you’ve got your request documented if you do need to go down the legal route. This would all come out under inheritance tax laws if something was to happen to you tomorrow, let your daughter deal with her situation and you do you.
  • Hi. So am I correct that you remortgaged your home so she could afford a house? If so she is very lucky, a lot of parents wouldn’t do that. Are you registered legally as a joint owner? 
    Clara Sais - Vlogger and Mummy
  • Groom
    Groom Posts: 54
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    Was the loan done properly, in writing with the terms of repayment stated? If not, you could have problems if she claims it was a gift! 
    You do need to take some action, otherwise you could find yourself without a home if you can't repay your mortgage. As others have suggested speak to her first, if that doesn't work speak to her husband. Then as a final resort seek legal advice. A letter from a solicitor may be enough as they probably won't want it to actually go to court as that could go against them in the future. 
  • Agent57
    Agent57 Posts: 52
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    Yet another Dilemma with not enough information....

    Why is the mortgage on your house and not hers?  You say you 'bought' half the house - Do you own half or did you just pay for half? Has your daughter signed any legal documents with you?  Why does her husband not know? Have you asked her to start repaying the money again?

    Sounds like this was all a shambles from the start.  I don't think there is a dilemma here.  Everyone knows she should pay you.  You just needs advice on the best way forward.

    Ask her nicely.
    Ask her formally.
    Ask him.
    Take legal action, if you can.
  • You didn’t buy half the house.  You unwisely lent your daughter money to buy the house, which she owns 100%.  If you have no loan agreement you will only be able to sue her for the delinquent payments.  If you have a loan agreement that puts the whole amount owing on demand in the event of non payment, then you can make demand for the full amount and sue for it all.
    A letter before action is your best course of action.  She has already told you what she thinks of your relationship by stopping repayments.
  • 2702
    2702 Posts: 20
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    You say you own 50% of the property or did you give your daughter the money for her to get a 50% share? Because you would have signed some sort of legal document and her husband would be aware of this. 
    If this is the case then it will be very difficult to take legal action.
    I would try and make up with my daughter and her husband and appeal to their good nature to resume payments to yourself.

  • Groom said:
    Was the loan done properly, in writing with the terms of repayment stated? If not, you could have problems if she claims it was a gift!
    It's true it will make the situation more awkward if the loan wasn't written down. But four years of repayments should be visible in bank records, which will make the notion that it was a loan rather than a gift more persuasive. Unless it was all done as cash? But definitely speak to the husband as well, and consider letting their neighbours and friends in on the difficulty as well before finally going down the legal route.

  • Well unless I've misinterpreted your post, you didn't buy half the house. You lent your daughter the money she needed (for a deposit?) so she could buy HER house. Unless your name is on the deeds/mortgage, then you have no stake in the house. Lending money to family and friends without a proper agreement in place never ends well. As for worrying about her marriage; if you were worried you'd walk away. The repercussions for your reveal are for your daughter to deal with but, it will have no bearing on the likelihood of a court victory. As for her never speaking to you again, only you can decide if that's a risk worth taking. Not all parent-child relationships are worth saving.
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