Family housing agreements
The following information is also available on the Seniors housing guide - contracts and agreements fact sheet.
A family agreement is an arrangement made between an older person and another party, usually family, friends or carers. The older person agrees to sell or transfer their home, assets or large amounts of cash to relatives in exchange for accommodation and current or future care. Family agreements can take a number of forms and are often verbal.
Examples of when you may enter a family agreements are if you:
- gift or loan money to family, carers or friends to buy a house or establish businesses;
- provide financial guarantees/security to family, carers or friends to buy a house or establish businesses;
- transfer a house to children on the understanding that you will have a right to remain living there;
- pay to build a granny flat on another's property; or
- co-purchase a property to share accommodation.
Family agreements are often entered into for all the right reasons, but people need to stop and think about possible pitfalls.
Disposing of assets may affect your pension, incur a large taxation bill, or affect your eligibility for government-sponsored housing. You risk fines and penalties if you do not declare these transactions.
It is important to think about how the arrangement will work not only now, but also in the future. Consider what would happen in changing circumstances, such as marital break-up or if you want to move somewhere else.
Protect your interests and talk to people you can trust. You should never be pressured or harassed into making a decision.
Family agreement checklist
- Seek legal and financial advice. Don't enter into an agreement without knowing the legal or financial implications.
- Be clear about what you expect from the agreement and your family, now and in the future.
- Talk to Centrelink, the Australian Taxation Office and other relevant bodies to check any impact on your liabilities or income.
- Put the agreement in writing with each party signing and getting a copy.
- Protect your interest by putting your name on any new title.
More information on Agreements
The Department of Local Government and Communities has a guide on Family Agreements. For a copy, ring the Seniors' Line on (08) 6217 8500 or visit their website.
The Older People’s Rights Service may also be able to assist, call (08) 9440 1663.
Detailed information from the seniors housing guide.
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