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Hi. I was wondering whether anyone might able to advise on any issues or things to be aware of in this scenario. I should add that we are about to consult a solicitor but just wanted a heads up on anything.

My mother in law has Lewey Bodies dementia and has been resident in a nursing home for just over a year. Because she was originally sectioned under 117 the Local Authority are part funding her care whilst she tops up the difference. She does not have capacity.

Her house has remained empty for that period whilst we decided whether to simply sell it or purchase it ourselves. We are very lucky in that my mother in law has sufficient savings as such that she could totally self fund for a number of years and according there is no need to sell the property. We have now decided that we can afford to buy her house and of course what we pay her can also go towards maintaining her care.

Currently my wife has fully registered lasting Power of Attorney for both Finance and Health. We are totally mindful that because she lacks mental capacity her best interests must be maintained by the involvement of the Office of the Public Guardian. We also appreciate that there is an obvious conflict of interest since my wife has POA but is also the one wishing to purchase the house.

My basic understanding is that initially we would obviously need to get 3 valuations so it can be established what the correct market value is?

Once we've gone through that stage is anyone able to advise of what the process involves and how long it might take?

My other query is that her house is ready to move straight into and we are looking to sell our current property as soon as possible. Accordingly, if we wanted to move now but the court process was still ongoing would that be viewed as OK as long as in the interim we were paying her the correct market rental rate?

Many thanks for your help and any observations


  • El_Torro
    El_Torro Posts: 1,429
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    Looks like professional advice would be a good idea. 

    You say that your mother in law can fund the care for some time to come. Would it not make more sense to inherit the property when she passes away rather than buy it off her now? Of course if she runs out of money you will have no choice but to buy the property (or sell it to someone else). 

    It sounds like you want to move in as soon as possible. Renting it off her might make sense in that case. I'm not sure of the legal implications of this though.
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,320
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    edited 4 February at 7:59PM
    Someone here, who has been through the process.

    I don’t think selling the house itself will be an issue, unless your mother in law is objecting to being in the care home and may wish to appeal her DoLS through the court of protection. Leaving a house empty if you can evidence that she won’t be returning there isn’t likely to be in her best interests.

    I would however query how you could be both landlord and tenant at the same time if you move in before the sale goes through, and that might be something that you need to explore further? 
    There are all the legalities of a tenancy which you would need to think about – it’s not just paying her the money – and how that would be managed and who by. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,396
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    edited 4 February at 8:12PM
    In theory I think wife can be landlord (wearing her POA hat) though I suspect that means that to do things properly she also needs to comply with all the bureaucracy of letting the property to herself as an individual (or just keep that bit quiet and ensure that mum gets paid a suitable rent).

    But maybe that shouldn't be a concern at all, as the conveyancing should be very swift assuming no actual problems with the titles.
  • propertyrental
    propertyrental Posts: 2,217
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    Selling makes sense. At present the house is empy, costing money, and at risk eg squatters etc....

    Provided you can clearly demonstrate payinh the proper market value to your MIL I don't see an issue with your buying.

    The rental aspect is more complex - I'd avoid.

    In terms of process and timing, will you require a mortgage? If not the process is easy and quick. TR1, AP1, ID1 to HMLR + SDLT return to HMRC.

    If there's a mortgage the lender will require a solicitor and more formal purchase processes: searches, contract etc.
    But that need takenno longer than you finding a biuyer for your current property and Completing on its sale. Just standard process dependant on chain etc.

  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,364
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    whatever happens I hope you find your way through it. Dementia is such a horrid thing and it must be a drain on both of you.  I wish you the best of luck in getting this sorted.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Bigphil1474
    Bigphil1474 Posts: 2,294
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    If it was me, I'd just move in, make sure all the bills are paid and call it even - better than leaving the house empty.

    Bear in mind, if you use EA valuations, they are specifically 'marketing valuations' not an actual value of the property. Might be better off getting a RICS survey done, who will give you an actual valuation in it's current state. The OH is in the process of selling their dad's house and they've gone on the EA's valuations but it is being sold on the open market. 

    Is your wife the executor on her mum's will? If not, might be best looking at that angle as well e.g. is it a solicitor.  Dementia is horrible, but if she does pass away, the PoE ends so worth tying everything off. 
  • Herzlos
    Herzlos Posts: 14,620
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    If it was me, I'd just move in, make sure all the bills are paid and call it even - better than leaving the house empty.

    That's what I was thinking. You'd maybe want to get legal advice but I don't see why you couldn't move into your MIL's house 'to look after it', then you can potentially sell your old house at leisure. You could presumably have done that whilst she was still living at home.
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