In cases such as [link] Alan’s, it may be argued that the older person has an equitable charge or equitable lien over the property. Charges and liens are not estates of any kind, but merely a right to secure the performance of an outstanding obligation (Dal Pont et al. 2007). They are available in similar circumstances to a constructive trust and arise where it would be inequitable for one party (such as an adult child) to retain the benefit of the older person’s contribution to the property (Burns 2002a, p. 1).
Australian courts in recent times have been using equitable liens or charges over constructive trusts where a court finds that this would satisfy the demands of justice and good conscience (Burns, 2002a, p. 1).
If an equitable lien is imposed, payment can be made without the owner of the property being compelled to sell it. Also, if a lien is imposed, the claimant is not entitled to any appreciation in the value of the property.