Joint Ownership of a Property – What To Do After A Breakup, Separation or Divorce

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When you buy a property jointly you don’t often contemplate what would happen if the relationship broke down and you wanted to sell the property, or you bought with a friend as an investment and now simply want to move on…. but the other party doesn’t – what would you do?

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, referred to as ‘TOLATA’, provides protection for just that scenario.

If your co-homeowner doesn’t want to sell the property and you do, you should try and reach an amicable agreement with that party or if that fails, your co-owner just won’t agree to sell, you will need to make an application to the Court for an Order which ‘forces’ the sale of the property.

When deciding such a case the court will look at the intentions of the parties when the property was purchased such as whether there is any evidence of what each owners share would be; what the purpose of the property was intended to be; it will consider the welfare of any children living at the property and look at the mortgage or any other claim on the property.

If you need assistance in this area, contact the Property Litigation team here at Bennett Griffin LLP.

To help avoid any such issues later down the line it may be sensible to consider having a Deed of Trust drawn up and put in place from the outset.  This sets out the parties and how the property is to be owned, for example on a 80/20 share basis.  Our Private Client team at Bennett Griffin LLP can assist you with this, give them a call on 01903 229999 and our team will help advise you what to do moving forward.