- Joint Owners / Co-Owner Disputes
- TOLATA Claims
- Gifts for property
- Resulting Trusts
- Constructive Trusts
Property Ownership Disputes Solicitor in Leicester
I am an expert in Property Ownership Disputes or Co-ownership Disputes. I have dealt with a considerable number of disputes involving the ownership or claimed ownership of property, and every time I strive to provide:
- Plain English Advice
- Time – to understand your situation and all that you’re faced with
- Results – getting you the best possible result
- Value – working on fixed fees where possible
- Convenience – meetings by phone, video call or in person at a time to suit you.
Urgent Property Ownership Advice?
What are property ownership / co-ownership disputes?
A dispute can arise over who owns a property, and co-ownership disputes have been seen more regularly by the Courts in the last few years, as the rise of unmarried couples and cohabitees is seen.
Who owns the house?
Many couples buy a house together, often in equal shares, but occasionally one person might pay the deposit, or the other person since they do not work, may not pay the mortgage (for example). Everything is fine, until the couple splits and then the question can be asked – who owns the property and in what proportion. Is it 50/50 or some other share.
If there is a written Deed which sets out the percentages, then there is very little you can do to argue otherwise.
However, if there is no written Deed, then the Court will have to consider all of the circumstances to arrive at their conclusion. These factors include:
- deposit paid
- payment of mortgage
- payment of other capital expenditure, eg building development
- conveyancing documents
- parties intentions
What if one co-owner wants to sell and the other does not want to sell?
Property Ownership disputes are often governed by legislation known as The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 . Lawyers shorten this to TOLATA.
The Act, TOLATA, provides for the power to sell a property or to force the other co-owner to purchase your shares, along with the right of the Court to determine the ownership shares.
So, if one party does not wish to sell then we can make an application to Court (a TOLATA Claim) to seek an Order for Sale.
Once we have the Order for Sale, we can then arrange for the property to be sold in accordance with the agreed or decided share ownership (after repaying the mortgage and any secured loans).
What if one co-owner dies? Can I still live at the property?
If a co-owner of the Property dies, and does not leave a Will or did not provide for the other party to inherit the deceased’s share, then that share will pass in accordance with the Deceased’s estate.
If the Property was held as Joint Tenants, then the Property will automatically pass to the other co-owner without any action.
However, if it was held as Tenants in Common (that is with a specific share of ownership) then the share will pass to their Estate.
In practice, this can sometimes mean that the Co-Owner and, say, step-children (Children of the Deceased) can be involved in dispute over the property.
On death of a co-owner, there are a few practical options:
- Purchase of the deceased’s share, involving remortgaging the property to pay a sum to the estate.
- Selling the property
It is true to say that the estate could force the sale of the property, by way of a TOLATA claim as referred to above.
My name’s not on the Property but I gave money to buy it. What are my rights?
As a property ownership solicitor I have dealt with many cases like this. There are two important legal phrases that you may come across – Resulting Trust and Constructive Trust.
They are very similar in nature, and effectively is where Property is held on trust (on behalf) of a third party.
So, for example, if you gave 50% of the purchase price of a property to buy with your Son & Daughter in Law, with a view to move in together, but the Property was only in their names, then it is likely to be argued that you have what is called a beneficial share in the property – that your share is held on trust for you by them.
Trusts and Equity Law in relation to property ownership disputes is complicated, and so you do really need a specialist solicitor that understands this area of law, and who has experience of property ownership disputes. I do!
Why use me as your Property Ownership Disputes Lawyer?
Steven Mather is a very experienced with co-ownership disputes. I have over 11 years experience in property ownership disputes.
I can help you from start to finish. General steps in a property ownership dispute might include:
- Reviewing Land Registry or Title Deeds to look for ownership, or restrictions on the property
- Letter of Claim / Letter before action
- Issuing or defending a claim either in High Court or County Court
- Exploring settlement eg via mediation
- Obtaining an Order for Sale
- or Obtaining an Order declaring the ownership shares
Recent examples of Co-Ownership Disputes
Here’s a sample of the kinds of property ownership disputes I’ve dealt with recently:
- £650,000 claim between Father-in-law and Son-in-Law. Father said he paid £650,000 toward purchase of property. Son said it was a gift.
- Dispute between Auntie and Nephew as co-owners, where Nephew’s name was on the title deeds but contributed only £700
- Dispute between 4 siblings as to the ownership of property following mum’s death
- Dispute between 5 siblings as to selling the property after a death
- Defending a claim for resultant/constructive trusts, amongst other things, in a claim against an estate of a famous music star.
- Claim for declaration of equitable/beneficial ownership of property after investing £180,000 in property but not on deeds and after signing a gifted deposit letter.
How much do property ownership disputes cost?
There is quite a wide range in costs, as it depends on the value, complexity and other party’s actions. The following costs are estimates only, and do not include disbursements such as Court Fees, Experts or Barristers costs. You will be given a bespoke estimate or fixed fee when we discuss your case.
I suggest that the first step is a review and advice meeting with me Steven Mather Solicitor. The charge is a fixed fee of £350 plus VAT for this or £500 plus VAT to include a letter to another party following the initial advice.
After that, as a rough guide, a property ownership dispute seek a Court Order for Sale of the Property, could cost somewhere between £4000-£8000 plus VAT and disbursements. If the matter is hotly disputed and contested, then these fees are likely to be a lot more.
I will recommend early mediation where possible, in order to save time and costs.
If you’re unsure on the question of fees, or on any aspect of property ownership disputes then speak to our litigation solicitor Steven Mather.
Just fill in the form on the side of this page, or give us a call to discuss further.
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