Friday, June 11, 2010
Susan Barkehall-Thomas (Monash University) has posted Families Behaving Badly: What Happens When Grandma Gets Kicked Out of the Granny Flat?, Australian Property Law Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2, p. 154, 2009. The abstract:
There is a substantial body of case law dealing with disputes by members of an extended family over real property. In particular, the cases involve family arrangements where an older generation family member has contributed resources to property owned by a family member in the younger generation. For example, a father agrees with his adult daughter that he will pay for the costs of an extension to her family home and will live in the extension. Such an arrangement may have explicit terms for the care of the older family member and may involve explicit promises that the family member may live there for the duration of their life. Alternatively, the arrangement may be much less formal, with no promises or assurances regarding the older family member’s rights. When the family arrangement breaks down, the courts are frequently called upon to resolve the older family member’s entitlement.
This article will discuss these cases, with particular reference to the judicial methodology being applied to their resolution. It will demonstrate that the cases show a substantial variation in approach, both as to the appropriate course of action and to the appropriate remedy.