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I gave my daughter money to buy her property, so I should have part ownership. Which case won? – Civil Law

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The Facts

Mother contributes to property purchase but living arrangements

A case in New South Wales concerned a claim to part ownership of
a property.

A woman obtained $147,000 by selling her home and gave the money
to her daughter and son-in-law over the period between November
2012 and January 2013, for the purchase of a property in Casula, in
south-western Sydney.

The daughter and son-in-law agreed the mother would live with
them at the Casula property. The three had agreed that the mother
would live in a separate part of the house.

However, another aspect of the arrangement was ambiguous. While
the mother thought she would reside with her daughter and
son-in-law forever, they thought she would stay with them long
term, but not forever.

Mother evicted from property after sharing residence for three

The mother, daughter and son-in-law lived together at the Casula
property for three years, from January 2013 to January 2016.

During this time the mother contributed $18,314 to renovations
of the house, while her daughter and son-in-law contributed at
least $45,715 to the renovation of the property.

After sharing a residence for three years, the mother, daughter
and son-in-law had a falling out and the mother was evicted from
the property.

Daughter and son-in-law appeal after mother succeeds in legal

The mother commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW to
claim some charge over the property and be repaid the contributions
she had made.

The mother was successful in her claim, but the daughter and
son-in-law appealed to the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of

The primary question on appeal was whether the $147,000 from the
mother was an absolute or conditional gift.

The secondary question on appeal was whether the $18,314
provided by the mother for renovations added to the capital value
of the property.

case a – The case for the mother

case b – The case for the daughter and son-in-law

  • I provided $147,000 to my daughter and son-in-law to buy the
    Casula property. I made a clear statement to the bank that the
    money I was providing was for the sole purpose of purchasing that

  • I contributed $18,314 towards the renovation of the property,
    which added to the capital value of the property.

  • I sold my home to obtain the $147,000 and then gave the money
    to my daughter and son-in-law. As I had nowhere else to live, I
    obviously intended to stay with my daughter and son-in-law.

  • I provided my daughter and son-in-law with support in caring
    for their three children.

  • If I hadn’t provided the $147,000, the Casula property
    would most likely not have been purchased.

  • How could I find a new residence at my age and in my financial
    situation? I thought they agreed for me to stay forever.

  • My mother gifted us $147,000 that we could spend on anything we
    wanted, it wasn’t just for the purpose of buying the

  • We spent $45,715 or more on renovations to the house. My mother
    only contributed $18,314, which fixed minor faults in the house but
    did not add to the capital value of the property.

  • My mother did not pay any outgoings during the three years she
    resided in our home. She paid no rent and she did not pay for
    expenses like rates or utilities.

  • We were living in separate areas of the home, so it was like
    two separate households.

  • The money my mother paid was not solely to me. Some money was
    also paid to my sister.

  • My husband and I never intended my mother to live with us
    forever. We thought it would be her long-term residence, but not a
    forever home.

Cast your judgment below to find

Hugh McAulay

Disputes and litigation

Stacks Law Firm

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.

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