Property Litigation » Trust of Lands and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996

People living together often have disputes over property; these can include not only couples, but friends or family members pooling their resources to get onto the property ladder in the current housing market.

Typical disputes include:-

  • Where joint owners of land are arguing about the size of their respective beneficial shares
  • Where one person claims an interest in a property held in another’s sole name, but which they may have occupied together for years
  • Where a third party, often a family member, claims a beneficial interest by proprietary estoppel or by way of constructive trust

We also act for those who, in the reliance and belief that a property is also their home, carried out refurbishments and renovations to the property at their own expense.

We also act for people between whom there has been an agreement that the property is jointly owned by the parties, regardless of contribution.

Many unmarried couples assume that, if they have cohabited for a number of years, they have legal rights similar to those couples who are married because they are the ‘common law’ wife or husband. This is not the case; even if you have lived together for many years, raised children and been responsible for the running of the house, this will not give you property rights.

Claims under this head are made to determine a party’s interest in the property. An application can be made to the Court which can determine the extent of each party’s interest in the property and also order a sale of the property.

Disputes also arise when a property has been registered in joint names. These disputes tend to arise when one person refuses to leave the property or refuses to agree to the sale of the property. This can stop the parties being able to move on following separation. Advice can be given as to each of your rights in respect of access to the property, how to effect a sale without the consent of the other party, and even on purchasing the other party’s interest in the property.

First and foremost, we want to protect our client’s interest to ensure there is no sale or transfer of the property until his or her claim has been resolved, particularly when their name is not on the title deeds.

We aim to provide at the outset a realistic assessment of what you can expect to achieve and the merits of your case. We will assess and quantify a claim and then seek a resolution by agreement without having to resort to Court proceedings.

Where Court proceedings do need to be issued, we prefer to settle the matter by mediation if possible to avoid the cost and expense of going to trial. We will strive to reach a solution in your case, and every attempt will be made to make the agreement without the involvement of the Court. Where this is not possible, we will make sure that we are fully prepared to fight a client’s corner by presenting evidence that is strong and persuasive.


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