In this brief guide, we are going to discuss buying out a sibling from an inherited house in the UK.

It is very common for a parent to leave a property in their will to two siblings. This, however, can create a big issue if the siblings involved fail to reach an agreement on how they want they want to share the house.

In most cases, they end up deciding that one person keeps the property and this then leaves the big problem of buying out a sibling from an inherited house in the UK.

When you inherit a property with your sibling you will usually have to decide if you are tenants in common or joint tenants.

Buying out a sibling from an inherited house (Uk)

Buying a sibling out from an inherited house is usually not an issue if everyone is in agreement but usually, this isn’t the case.

In some cases, you may need to force the sale of the house by making an application to the court.

Usually, you will first need a solicitor to draft a letter to your sibling informing them that you wish to buy out their share in the property, you will usually need evidence of how you intend to purchase their shares.

If you are still in probate, which takes around 6 months then the home would have been valued for probate.

This valuation will usually be an open market valuation.

When buying probate property you should be aware that there could be multiple delays which cause the property sale to be delayed.

The sibling who is selling the house can also get an ‘emergency grant of probate’ that allows the property to be listed after 10-14 days.

If your sibling agrees to sell inherited property to you then you will need to present land registry with a grant of probate showing both your signatures if not the property will not be transferred to your name.

You should be aware that in some cases the probate value of a property may represent a discount due to how long ago it has been, especially if the property market has moved in an upward direction.

In the same way, it could also represent a much higher price than market value if property prices have fallen.

It is also worth noting that the subling selling their shares may be required to pay capital gains tax if the property value has risen since you both inherited it.

They may be able to deduct reasonable expenses but this may still reduce their motivation to sell.

If you are buying out your subling then you should remember that you will either need to use cash or a mortgage and there may be other fees associated such as mortgage fees, legal fees and stamp duty.

If you are unable to get mortgage funds to buy your sibling out of an inherited property and you do not have the cash to do so then you could come to an agreement with your sibling where you make monthly payments to them.

You should both seek legal advice before doing this.

There are some obvious advantages and disadvantages to doing things this way, they include:

Although you are paying for the house, any capital appreciation of the property will continually increase the amount you have to pay as your sibling’s equity rises in price.

The good news is that the value of your own equity will continue to rise too.

This sort of agreement is also a good compromise where one party needs funds but the other party wants to live in the house.

The downside of this is that if the party who is in need of funds requires a large amount of capital then this structure may not be of use.

If there isn’t a legal agreement such as a tenancy in common then the sibling who is receiving the monthly payments for their equity could still sell their shares to a third party. 

If your sibling were to pass away during this time and there were no formal agreements in place then all your repayments could also be at risk.

You could agree on a deed of trust which will give the sibling who is receiving payment the ability to foreclose if monthly repayments are missed or there is a default.

Can you force your sibling to sell an inherited house?

Yes, you may be able to force your sibling to sell an inherited house.

You and your sibling will both hold the property under a trust of land. You are therefore both trustees of that trust.

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA) gives general powers on trustees. 

This means trustees can:

  • Sell a property
  • Get a mortgage on a property 
  • or grant a lease on a property

For a property to be sold you and your brother will have to consent to is a sale as you are both joint legal owners but you can still apply to the county court or under certain situations apply to the high court in order to force the sale of an inherited house.

You will need to apply for an Order for Sale under ToLATA, which would force your sibling to sell the property.

The court will consider your application to force the sale of the house and decided based on the below points:

1) The intentions of you both when the trust was created. In this case, when you inherited the property.

2) The purpose(s) for which the property subject to the trust is held. Is the property an inherited asset for sale( or maybe for capital appreciation) or something of sentimental value to be passed on to the next generation?

3) The welfare of any minor who occupies or might reasonably be expected to occupy the property as his or her home.

4) The interests of any secured creditor of any of the beneficiaries,

Stamp duty when buying a sibling out on an inherited house in the UK

If you are buying out your sibling on an inherited property then you will pay to pay stamp duty if the property value is more than £40,000.

If you already have an existing property then you will have to pay stamp duty at the additional rate if you do not sell your original property within 36 months of completing the purchase on the inherited property.

If you sell your original home within 36 months you may then file another refund return to get the additional rate stamp duty you paid.

If you are a first -time buyer in England you may be able to claim first-time buyer stamp duty relief. 

If your sibling is kind enough to gift you their sare of the property then there may be no stamp duty due. They can transfer their shares o you through a deed of variation but you will need to ensure that the executors, your sibling and yourself are in a legal agreement. 

There may be time limits which you have to stick by.

There is usually no stamp duty in inherited property.

You should seek independent legal advice.

What you need to buy a sibling out of an inherited house in the UK?

If you are not buying with cash you will need a mortgage.

Most mortgage lenders will accept a mortgage deposit of around 5% but if you have bad credit you may need to speak with a specialist mortgage broker such as a bad credit mortgage broker.

If you are self-employed, you may also need to speak with a specialist mortgage broker such as a self-employed mortgage broker as getting the mortgage lender to see your income as reliable may be your biggest challenge.

A mortgage broker will help you get a mortgage in principle and then help you get a mortgage offer to buy your sibling out of an inherited house.

You will then need a conveyancer to do the legal searches on the house and complete the house purchase.

FAQs: buying out a sibling from an inherited house in the UK

Can one beneficiary buy out another?

Yes, one beneficiary can buy out another beneficiary. This is quite common where two siblings inherit a property.

Do I have to pay inheritance tax on my parent’s house?

No, you won’t usually have to pay inheritance tax on your parent’s house if your parents gifted you the property more than 7 years before they died. This is because it won’t count towards their estate.

Do you pay stamp duty on an inherited house?

You won’t usually have to pay stamp duty on an inherited house but based on what legal structures it is held in you may have to pay stamp duty.  If you purchase the shares of a sibling and they are over £40,000 you may also need to pay stamp duty.

What happens if one person wants to sell a house and the other doesn’t?

If one person wants to sell a house and another person doesn’t then you may be able to apply to the courts.

Can siblings force the sale of inherited property UK?

Yes, a sibling can force the sale of a property but they will have to apply to the courts and meet certain conditions.

In this brief guide, we are going to discuss buying out a sibling from an inherited house in the UK.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.