I share my home with my daughter, who is 21 years old. I want to sell my house and move to the West Country, but my daughter is unhappy and she is threatening to block the sale. Can she do that?

Your question does not specify whether your daughter owns any part of the equity of the house, or whether she is just an occupier.

If your daughter actually owns a share of the house, whether in equity or beneficial interest, you cannot sell the property without her consent. If you are adamant that you need to sell the house, you could go to court and obtain a court order which would order that your daughter sell the house with you, if the court deems it to be in your best interests and reasonable for your daughter.

However if your daughter does not own any share of the house then she is deemed to be an Occupier. There is no clear definition of Occupier in the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 which regulates "visitors", and we have to rely on court precedents and decisions to know exactly what rights an Occupier has. Adults, being 18 and over, who live in a property without any formal legal documentation in the form of a lease, tenancy agreement, and the like, are deemed to be Occupiers. This includes children who are 18 years old and over. Children living with a parent acquire Occupier's rights to remain in the Property with either express or implied permission from the parent. You would think that when this permission is withdrawn, the child has to vacate the premises. This would however fall foul of the Housing Act., especially if your house is your daughter's main residential home and she has no other accommodation at all i.e. university residence. Your daughter therefore has to consent and agree to waiving her Occupier's rights before you can confidently sell the property.

The contract of sale makes provision for your daughter to sign it which confirms that she consents to the sale and that she too will vacate the property on completion of your sale. It is therefore imperative that you and your daughter agree to the sale of the property. If your daughter will not sign the contract, she is in effect blocking your sale, and she would be within her rights to do so.

It is advisable that you and her come to an agreement that it would be in both your best interests well before marketing the property.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.