On September 18, 2019, I held Part 2 of an informational series on Co-Ownership and Home Sharing, this time with a focus on the legal co-ownership and home sharing agreements, specifically:
1. an opportunity for people to learn in general terms what the legal co-ownership and home sharing agreement entails, 2. that it’s possible, and preferable, to tailor the agreement to the particular group of housemates’ own requirements, and 3. to discuss the most common potential stumbling blocks or areas of most concern with respect to co-ownership and home sharing.
Co-Ownership: two or more people who purchase a property together Home Sharing: one person has a property and is looking for others to share it with (could be a rental situation) Both options allow seniors (or intergenerational) to live together and reap significant health, economic and social benefits.
Panelists who answered questions after the presentations by Dorothy Mazeau and I included:
Tara McEwen, HomeShare Alliance
Aldo Berlingieri, Escarpment Law
Dorothy Mazeau, Golden Girls Canada
Lesli Gaynor, GoCo Solutions, Toronto
Most people are familiar with the Condominium Act and Co-operative Corporations Act which protect the occupants. With co-ownership, it is advisable to have a contractual agreement drafted through a lawyer to ensure the same level of protection is provided, and to govern the arrangements of the co-owners.
Though not exhaustive, the agreement generally includes provisions for the following:
1. Who will occupy the premises, including a provision re subletting
2. Nature of the relationships (are the parties related or unrelated)
3. Financial, including percentage of ownership
4. Spousal status
5. Liability, including appropriate indemnity clauses
6. Use of property, e.g. common areas, parking
7. Exit strategies, e.g. death, illness, bankruptcy, one co-owner wishes to sell
8. Managing, maintaining and repairing the property, use of a reserve fund
9. Sale of property
10. Dispute resolution
In addition, house rules can cover such things as:
1. Pets – limit type, number, size or none at all
2. Visitors, overnight guests
3. Quiet time
4. Avoiding certain activities or behaviours which might limit enjoyment by others
5. Chores and households duties, e.g. cooking, shopping, cleaning, supplies, gardening
6. Household meetings
7. Illness, disabilities, caregiving
NEED FOR A WRITTEN AGREEMENT
One of the most common reasons ventures go awry is due to a lack of clear, written communication. It is not a good idea to make assumptions as this can lead to discourse later on. The communication problem is easily mitigated, and often avoided altogether, by entering into a co-ownership agreement well in advance.
While it’s important to be on the same page from the start, unforeseeable events can occur and circumstances can change in unforeseen ways. Therefore it’s also important to know that the co-ownership agreement can be amended and revised at any time, provided everyone agrees to the new terms.
Co-ownership and home sharing can effectively and holistically address the emotional, social and logistical issues of aging in place. As part of a coherent, fair, thoughtful group process, new and exciting opportunities are created for those involved. Communication, cooperation and compromise are key.
! If you have any questions regarding the legal agreement, please feel free to contact me.
!I will be hosting
Part 3: FINDING THE RIGHT HOUSEMATE
Thursday, November 21, 2019
11:00 to 12:30
Grace Lutheran Church,
1107 Main Street West, Hamilton
(light lunch will be served)
Ellen Ryan, a gerontologist and semi-retired professor, sees later life as a time of opportunity for reflection, creativity, growth, connectedness, and contribution. She has been invited to speak about social participation and aging in community internationally and by Hamilton Council on Aging, Hamilton Third Age Learning, Hamilton Seniors Advisory Committee, Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre, Halton Seniors Advisory Committee, Na’amat Hamilton (Jewish Women’s Group), local churches, and various programs at McMaster University.