Jointly Owned Property
The first thing to say about this is how to avoid disputes.
The sensible thing when purchasing jointly owned property is for the parties to enter into a Declaration or Deed of Trust (also known as a Co-Ownership Agreement). This type of agreement can help to avoid problems down the line. It will confirm contributions to the purchase price, who is responsible for the mortgage and many other things. It will also address the situation which could arise in the event one party wants to sell and the other does not. Instead of trying to figure things out from the circumstances a well-drafted Trust Deed or Agreement more likely than not means there will be no dispute. We can assist with the drafting of a Trust Deed or Agreement and/or advising on its terms. We are careful to ensure that we do not advise one party against the other. In certain cases it is necessary for either one or both parties to take their own independent legal advice. We will let you know what is appropriate. There may be some additional cost but to ensure the arrangement is sound and enforceable this may be required.
However, in other instances, where cohabitees have a dispute with one another about property occupation and ownership, their principal remedy is to apply for relief under the law. The court has broad powers and can make a declaration about the parties’ property rights according to established principles of trust law, but it has no discretionary power to adjust those rights.
These claims can be expensive to litigate. We will use our expertise to advise you as soon as possible as to what we think the outcome will be and the costs of pursuing the proceedings. You can them make an informed decision about how matters are taken forward.
We always encourage a constructive attitude to settlement whether in negotiations with the other party’s legal adviser or through a more formal mediation process. This is what the Court expects us to do and if you do not adopt this approach there can be penalties imposed by a Judge such as additional liability for costs.
If a dispute involves a married couple then different principles can arise and in that instance you need expert help which we can provide. The procedure for making an application is under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). This toolkit contains materials to guide practitioners through the procedure for starting a TLATA 1996 application and the legal principles that the court applies when considering such an application.
If you have a query or would like to book an appointment please get in touch with our First Contact team on 01256 320555 or email email@example.com.
Dispute Resolution Partner
Employment & Litigation Paralegal