Along with the joys of property ownership and getting a foot on the ladder, occasional disputes may be inevitable. They can come about through inheritance disputes, a divorce, co-habitation with a partner ending, and getting on the property ladder with friends or family. Family breakdown is another cause for ownership disputes.
How do disputes begin and do I need to apply to a court?
In many situations, a property becomes jointly owned and this is problematic when a relationship breaks down or when the owners cannot agree on whether or not to sell the property. There may be disputes over the equity each of the parties feel they deserve. In this case, it is recommended that residents apply to the court to seek help to manage the situation. Applications are made to a court under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 which is known as TOLATA. As the court has the power under TOLATA, it can make an order stating that the home should be sold. It can also make an order to direct as to how the equity will be split.
One owner wants to sell but the other doesn’t. What happens?
If mediation doesn’t enable you to arrive at an amicable decision, then legal professionals will help you through the court procedure. Once an application is made under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, the court will deliver its decision in the interests of both parties. The decision will consider children, whether you are married or cohabiting and the intentions at the time the home was bought.
We are unmarried joint tenants
Joint tenancy issues can be problematic. When the property was purchased, or the owner added a name to the title, the decision was that the property would be held in a joint tenancy. The joint tenants will therefore own the entire property together but in the case of a dispute, the owners will have this agreement ended. For example, if you live in Ascot solicitors there can assist with the procedure if there is a dispute, including firms such as https://www.parachutelaw.co.uk/ Parachute Law.
Disputes can arise even out of trivial property-related matters. According to Belfast Live councils in Northern Ireland have been called upon to resolve dozens of disputes between neighbours in relation to the height of their hedges. According to the article, more than 90 formal complaints have been lodged with local authorities since 2017.
Joint ownership can cause problems with mortgage default
Owning a home with a new partner or a friend can lead to a dispute as they may not be as diligent about paying their share of the monthly bills. Alarmingly you could find your home at risk, as the creditor will want to push for a sale of the home to recoup the capital required to pay the debt. If you own the property in both names, creditors will aim to recoup the money from you too.
What happens if we are married?
If you were engaged or married when the property was bought, then the house becomes an asset under a divorce settlement. It can be more complex if you are married as you may be unable to sell your part of the property.
What happens if there are disputes over assets?
If a relationship ends, there may be disputes over assets. If a claim is brought within three years of the ending of an relationship then the court has the authority to resolve the dispute. It also has the power to state how any assets are divided up.