I would welcome people’s opinion on the following issue.
I am looking after a trust fund which owns a residential property. The terms of the trust were to allow the testator’s widow X to occupy the farmhouse during her lifetime and after her death to four remaindermen A, B, C & D in the shares 45%, 45%, 5% & 5% absolutely. The remaindermen are from three different relationships and they don’t get on.
X died in November 2018 and A has lived in the property all his life and continues to live there. He seems in no rush to move out and he is currently living there rent free.
Beneficiary B feels very strongly that Beneficiary A should pay an occupation rent under the Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. Beneficiary A doesn’t want to do so.
One of the two trustees is a retired property solicitor and he feels that, as this is now a bare trust, it is up to the beneficiaries to agree any occupation rent between themselves. An internal and an external litigation solicitor both think it is up to the trustees to decide whether to charge an occupation rent.
The Will was made in 1993 and the testator died in 1995. The Will contains a power to allow the trustees to permit any of the beneficiaries to occupy the property and to make such provisions as the payment of outgoings or expenses as they see fit.
The amount of occupation rent that B would be entitled to is about £10,000.
I would appreciate any comments.
Graham & Rosen Solicitors