Advice for Friend -Living in House He Doesn't Own

So this is the whole story.

I have just found out from a close mate that the house he lives in, is owned by his brother who lives overseas. Now my mate has been living in this house for 20+ years and has been paying for every bill accountable ( electricity, water, council rates, taxes etc.).

This predicament came about recently when his father passed away and when I asked him about if he was going to inherit his father's house, he said he had to talk to his mother. Following his conversation with his mother, he found out that his brother who has been living overseas for over 30 years has both the ownership and the deed to the property.

Now here i where the complication comes, his older brother has been married for little over 2 years and they have a daughter now. After he told me this, i said mate you need to talk to a lawyer because your brothers wife can kick you out of the property as you don't own it. After i told him that, he said next time he goes to visit his brother he will talk to him.

And here is some more back story, originally his grandparents had 2 plots of land, one for him and one for his older brother. His parents decided to sell my mates plot of land to build a house for their family, so my mate lost his gifted land to build their family home.

Details Chronological order

1970s - Grandparents gift each son 1 block of land
1987 - Older Brother moves overseas and takes land deed with him
1988 - Parents sell mates block of land to build family home
1990 - father builds house and gets written onto the land ownership
2017 - Older Brother decides to get married and have a family
2018 - father passes
2018+ - Mate and Mother live in house

Is there any suggested advice that I can give my mate?


  • Fact is he just needs to talk to his brother.

    You're massively jumping the gun here when they haven't even discussed it! The brother might decide to just split it down the middle, but until they talk this thread, and any 'advice' you give him is pointless!

    Let the brothers talk and you keep your nose out of it.

    • Err what about the mother? She still lives in the house. If we're talking about adverse possession, she's the one whose house it is. Apparently mummy's boy moved out at some point.

      • Yeah but the son is still caring for her, apparently…

        The family just need to talk, it's not difficult

  • Seen this one before.

    Brother overseas owns the house so the mother has a place to live. The dad knew this which is why the brother got it. The local brother wants to take possession of the house and put the mother in a nursing home so he can bring home whoever he wants and smoke weed in the living room without being told off. After all, its his house because he's been paying the bills and the lazy overseas brother hasn't paid a bill. (most likely the bills are being paid from the mothers account).

    That is why there is little mention of the mother in all of this, almost like shes already dead.

  • i just wish I HAVE good friend who can help me when I have car accident, relationship breakdown, trouble with boss at work, dispute with neighbour and now issue with the house I live in - that they care so much about me they come to the best community in Oz to post questions and looking for answer for me… I am very simple person, such good luck I wish I also have so good mate..then I don't worry about too much other things.

  • Ahhh family and money. It’s like clockwork

    • My brother gave me the best advice. When it comes to money there is no family or friends.

      • Because your brother doesn't understand about money? Shit advice tbh.

        • You see in a perfect world if you lent family money they won't pull the "but we are family so i shouldn't have to pay you back" card.

          Unfortunately that world is only where pixies and unicorns live in.

          So i would have to disagree with you there.

          My brother understands perfectly well how money has cause rifts within family members.

          Back in my greatgrandparents and grand parents generation. A handshake deal on purchases of land from another family member is all it takes. Done deal.

          That was until an auntie got in the middle of a deal and took back said land after it was all paid for. Yes took back ownership of the land. And no money was returned. Her reason was it was sold too cheap.

          • @xoom: Ok, now I understand you a bit more.
            An auntie, she isn't well educated (sorry) all she has in her mind probably is money. That's the problem.
            I bet she doesn't know where the money or currency comes from.

            • @superuser: So if she was well educated her actions are justified? I just put it down to greed. Out and out greed. This is just one reason the rest of our relatives hate her.

  • Mate, you don't even know if his brother's wife will kick him or his mother out.

    At this stage there is no need to get any lawyers involved. Let your mate talk directly to his brother about it.

    You're a bloody goose.

  • Op is a troll

  • The question is why is OP so interested in an $1.5m property mortgage free while the person that should be isn't? Are you playing the long game?

  • Parents sold the block of land that belonged to one brother which was - if what you say is true about the other brothers title - in his name.

    It doesn't make sense.

    Anyway your brother may have a 50% equitable interest in the remaining house and land depending on what was said and the exact circumstances surrounding it. Yes that is a real legal thing that can exist or regardless of who holds the title.

    Your mum likely has an equitable Life interest in the property.

    This is a very complex matter. You need a lawyer.

  • Yeah as above, if the land in your friend's name was sold by his father, well, that should not be a legal sale as the father was not the owner. If the land was held in trust by the father, then any proceeds remain the property of your friend.

    The problem is, as others explain, your friend paid for a house on land that is not his.

    Hopefully the family will agree on a fair split of assets.

    Otherwise this is going to get expensive and legally messy.

    I would say your friend has a claim vis the succession Act, if his father did not provide for him in a will. But there was no will, so the rules of intestacy apply (in NSW, basically 50% to surviving wife, the remainder equally split between children). But the father might not have technically had any assets. So even this route is tricky.

    In for updates.

  • Tell him to go and talk to a decent property lawyer. Pikes & Verekers are good.

  • "Now my mate has been living in this house for 20+ years and has been paying for every bill accountable ( electricity, water, council rates, taxes etc.)."

    So effectively he's been living rent free except paying for the bills. He hasn't contributed anything to the mortgage. What makes you think he should be entitled to the house? Sounds like he got a good deal - his brother did not charge any rent while still paying for a mortgage.

    The inheritance story from the grandparents has nothing to do with this.

  • I would suggest that you leave you mate deal with the situation and mind your own business.
    Furthermore this is OPs version of the story so guaranteed ito be fraught with inaccuracies.
    If OPs mate wants help from OB then let them place the post.
    We will be happy to help.

  • I can help here. A mate went through a similar situation, took three years to complete the whole process. The house will go the mother. If divorced, then it gets split evenly down the middle for the kids, since no valid will was left behind. Happened in NSW.

  • He owns the land and house now! You need to be squatting there for 20 years. (What a bargain!)

  • 20+ years means squatters rights come into play, correct?

  • Squatters law?

  • Brother is not coming back from overseas anytime soon. 20 years means its a better experience where he is now.
    If anything, I'd recommend to your friend to be a carer for both properties so he doesn't have to worry about it.
    Already paying the bills (probably rates too) means he is saving plenty in rent and mortgage, and he has good trust and relationship.
    If the brother wants to keep the family home, then suggest moving into the family home (if appropriate, work my be closer where he is now) and renting the other house, or vice versa. Make some money from the assets.
    I wouldnt worry about the wife. She has little to gain from removing your friend from the house. Financially motivated, its best to strengthen the family relationship by supporting your brother with ownership of both assets, so he doesnt have to worry about it from overseas.

    • There's 1 house. Mother and son live in it.

      You didn't actually read it did you?

      • I didnt read the chronological order. No tl;dr for us skip readers. I had my ozbargain advice ready by halfway.

        From the first two paragraphs, it could be deduced there are two houses involved.

        • Come on at least read it before giving ur opinion. I know it’s the net and all but u can’t just go off of headlines.

  • If you are not your mate, stay out of family affairs.

  • Plot twist, the mate's brother is Broden?

  • Needs his mate @bob the builder to build him a new house. Can he do it? Yes he can!

  • Suggested advice for your mate - Lawyer up!

  • Your friend was using the house so obviously he was consuming utilities like electricity, water and the brother did not. Was he charged any rent? If not he should be thanking the brother instead.
    You friend should have forwarded the council rates, taxes etc. to the brother. Why did he pay the bills he is not supposed to?

    Did your friend not sign the sale agreement when his part was sold off? What do the agreement papers say? This is the most crucial part of the whole transaction.

    i said mate you need to talk to a lawyer because your brothers wife can kick you out of the property as you don't own it.

    Stop causing drama and doubts in your friends' mind for (profanity) sake. Be a good friend!


    Surely if this man could pay rates / water / maintain the property - AND get the property - you friends brother could do the same.

  • All I can think about are squatters rights. Not sure how they'd apply here though.

  • I don't understand the issue, your mate never actually owned the house he was living in. It was his father's house and, obviously, it's within his father's rights to leave that home to whoever he wants. In this case, he chose your mate's brother. Your mate's brother has been kind enough to continue allowing your mate to live there. This doesn't mean your mate has any claim to ownership of the property.

    I don't see where the difficulties are?

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