Property Ownership Dispute Solicitors
Property ownership disputes, also frequently referred to as cohabitation disputes or 'TOLATA', can arise when there is a disagreement over who has rights to a shared residence. They are common with unmarried couples, particularly through relationship breakdowns, but can also arise with people who are living with friends or family. Jackson Lees’ Civil Litigation team are experienced in this complex area of law and can advise you, regardless of whether you’re bringing of defending a claim. Get in touch with our experts to discuss your situation.
What is a property ownership dispute?
A property ownership dispute is a disagreement over who has rights, or ownership, of a shared property. This is very common when couples who aren’t married or in a civil partnership are living together and the relationship breaks down. Unfortunately, it is very common for both parties to be paying towards a property, but this does not automatically give you rights to the property. This of course can also be the case if you are living with friends or family members, and you are all paying towards a property that only one person has ownership rights of.
A more extreme example of a cohabitation dispute arising is if your cohabitee, who is also the legal owner of the property, passes away without a Will. When couples live together with no matrimonial ties and you are both paying towards the property, it is assumed if one of you pass away, the other will be able to automatically inherit the property. This isn’t the case. If you are not the legal owner of the property, even if you are paying towards the property, you do not automatically have rights to that property. It is in this situation that it can be disputed and brought before the courts.
Property ownership disputes are governed by the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, hence why these disputes are often referred to as ‘TOLATA’. This act gives power to the courts to determine ownership of a property when there are multiple interested parties involved. The courts will review relevant documents and make a balanced decision.
We can help you with your cohabitation dispute. Watch our short video guide below to find out what you can do in this situation.
How can a Lawyer help with property ownership disputes?
If you are facing a property ownership dispute, you do have options. A Lawyer can help you with the initial process of analysing past payments towards the property as well as discussions with the other party to try and reach a resolution. If the dispute cannot be settled at this stage, we can gather evidence of your interest in the shared property and make an application on your behalf to the court for a judge to make a balanced decision. If the dispute does go to court, the process will be as follows:
- Letter Before Claim – A Letter Before Claim is a letter that outlines the details of your case and evidence of your interest in the property
- Response – The other party then has the opportunity to respond and set out the details of their case
- Early settlement – There will then be another opportunity for early settlement out of court
- Court – If early settlement is not reached, you can make a claim to the courts and a Judge will decide
Why Jackson Lees?
The Jackson Lees Civil Litigation team have worked on many property ownership dispute cases, and have the experience working in this complex area of law to represent you and protect your position at every stage. From our head office in Liverpool city centre, we represent people across the whole of England and Wales and help them gain legal rights to the property they are living in and have been paying towards. To speak to one of our Civil Litigation lawyers, call us on 0151 282 1700, or request a call back at a time that is convenient for you. Alternatively, you can make a quick enquiry below and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your situation.