My sister and I own the property that was my mums until she passed. Unfortunately my sister and I don’t speak at all and for me glad that we never will again. We went to mediation after my mothers death and we both agreed that I would live in the house and rent out 2 rooms. This meant I could keep an eye on the lodgers. Renting rooms on the rent a room scheme allowed us to give them 1 months notice to leave without a problem. Also gave my sister access freely rather than renting out the property completely, where none of us could access the house. My sister does not live there but comes and goes as she pleases and stays when she wants. The washing machine broke, She comes there to do her washing, has done for 8 years as she doesn’t have a WM. I asked her to pay for half, she refused. (I wasn’t living there for 4 years when I was living with my then husband and didn’t use the machine in that time) but she has always used it including the lodger. If She was accepting a portion of the rent as we had one person living there, who has now moved out and As we were going to have lodgers renting rooms in the future, isn’t she liable for a share of any repairs and bills in general as she would have been collecting the higher portion of the rent too. Bills would also be higher with more people living there that I would be expected to be paying for. Living on my own I am frugal and careful so bills would be smaller.

This was all it took to fall out with her, the washing Machine!, My sister, a week before Xmas when this happened, demanded I leave with a weeks notice, even though we had agreed in writing through mediation we will rent the rooms out for 1 to 2 years before we think about actually selling. I then receive a solicitors letter from her demanding back pay for bills and back rent she is now demanding I pay her. She has also told her solicitor she is paying £900 a month in rent else where which I know for a fact is untrue as she is still at the place she has lived at for the last 10 to 12 years at £320 a month.

I am currently homeless and living with friends as I don’t know if I would be forced to have to pay her a rent to live in my own home, if I was to move back int9 the house until it is actually sold. I am not working, going through a divorce, (husband and I are amicable).my sister has a place to live but I don’t surely under the circumstances, Can I not live in the house, till it is sold as that shows I have been willing to sell? I have not got a permanent base and now lockdown. Also we had an offer on the house a week before lock down, she agreed to that if she got another ten thousand (they did give that) but then she decided she wanted another 25 thousand more and a week to meditate and think about it so we lost the sale. Surprise surprise!! I wanted to sell at the price we were offered but it has to be 50/50. So unless she agrees a price it won’t sell even if I want it sold at a reasonable price as it seems she has final say, so I am constantly trapped. I wanted to sell at the price offered, the estate agent tried to explain to her there will be a recession and house prices will go down, that was pretty obvious that lockdown would create those issues but she has no insight to see that. She has a new estate agent now!

Unfortunately I don't think she will sell now until she gets what she thinks the property is worth which will not be the original asking price anymore and I worry she will hold out for months to years. We will probably now lose at least 50 to 75 thousand on this house sale due to coved and the knock on affect it will have and her refusal to take the good offer at the time we needed and should have taken. Can I do anything to claim that back because she refused the sale leaving a massive loss for us both.

Where do I stand? Can I live in the house and pay the bills only but no rent as it’s on the market anyway. I had moved back into the house to also help look after my disabled mother before she passed and because I was separated from my husband (my sister isn’t very sympathetic towards me in that anyway, hence moving back to live with mum but I had lived in the house all my life 40 years apart from 4 years, being married). My sister has not lived in the house for over 20 years. The house sits empty, she won’t rent it out or allow rooms to be rented with me in it so we are both not making any income, can I claim for loss of income as she won’t allow the rooms to be let, as agreed in mediation. I am still paying all the bills as she won’t add her name to the bills and only she can call the companies to do that they won’t add her at my request and she certainly won’t volunteer to do that so I have no choice, yet again forced and trapped.

can she legally stop me living there if I have nowhere else to go and I am not working so can not afford the high market rent she wants. I am paying council tax, gas elec, house insurance as my names were on them and she will not contact them to put her name so it could be jointly paid. I am keeping all receipts of this. I agreed to sell the house about a month and a half after our falling out and she was free to get estate agents in from Feb 2019 onwards but she didn’t till October put it on the market. I fled the house after receiving A threatening letter from her solicitor, demanding back rent of up to £15,000. My sister is a very vindictive person, I personally think undiagnosed with PPD thus trying to reason with her is just impossible. My sister falls out with a lot of people, I don’t but she cannot see maybe it’s down to her not everyone one else.

We had an agreement in mediation but anything we agreed, the moment we row or disagree she changed her mind, regardless of what we agreed and the mediators wrote it down. I followed the agreement and never threatened her with selling the house anytime but eventually with the not being allowed to say nothing, behave , Do as your told and comply with her or she would threaten to demand I leave the house and sell with a days notice at times. so in the end rather than be blackmailed by this anymore I said yes please sell it, I can’t be held to ransom every 5 mins by you it’s a form of blackmail.

I just want to move on with my life.

Please advise if I live in the house till it’s sold.

  • 1
    Location? Different places have different laws.
    – nick012000
    Dec 17, 2020 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


It’s your house

You can’t be forced by a co-owner to pay rent for a property you own. You can’t be forced by a co-owner to sell if you don’t want to. You can’t be forced by a co-owner to pay to maintain the property.or to pay utilities. Of course, if no one maintains the property or pays the rates then eventually you won’t have a property but you can’t be forced to.

This applies to her as much as it applies to you.

It’s possible, even likely, that your mediation agreement meets the requirements of a contract. If it does, then breaching it will allow the aggrieved party to sue for damages.

The good news is, you can get on with your life right now - sign over the house to your sister and walk away. Except you can’t because your interest in the house needs to be dealt with in the divorce.

If you want your “fair share” and your idea of what that is is bigger than hers then you have to fight for it - lawyer up.

  • 1
    Her solicitor states that she is entitled to rental from me. Probably Told the solicitor that I don’t want to sell, which is not true. I need to know legally if she can force me to pay rent or not, if I am willing to sell and it’s on the market. I am obviously not going to sign over the house and lose my fair share as I in order to buy a property to live in in future. I just need to know, can move in without having to pay rent if I am already paying bills and maintaining it till it’s sold. Once I know that I can do this I can then get a solicitor to write to her to inform her of my rights.
    – Josephine
    Apr 28, 2020 at 9:06
  • 3
    You need to ask your solicitor
    – Dale M
    Apr 28, 2020 at 11:56
  • "You can’t be forced by a co-owner to pay rent for a property you own" - this may be correct, but isn't your sister asking you to pay 50% rent on a house you 50% own? Which sounds fair to me. Dec 17, 2020 at 16:31
  • 2
    @ConanTheGerbil the OP is asking about the law, questions about fairness belong on Philosophy (or maybe Politics)
    – Dale M
    Dec 17, 2020 at 20:33
  • 2
    The solicitor may have very well have told her that she is entitled to rent. It would likely have slipped her mind that this would be half the rent, because the other half goes to yourself, that she owes rent for using the house, and that she is then responsible for maintenance of the house. People tend to forget things they don't like.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 17, 2022 at 8:33

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