Property Ownership Disputes

We specialise in property disputes, including ownership disputes.

A property is normally held by those persons or companies registered at the Land Registry.  A property can be held by joint owners where there is a presumption that they are both entitled to equal proceeds or by tenants in common which would infer that they do not have equal interests.  If a property is held jointly, i.e. joint tenants, then on death of one of the owners, the property automatically passes to the surviving owner.  In case of a dispute, it is therefore often advisable for joint owners to serve a notice of severance so that upon death their interest does not automatically pass to the surviving owner.

Sometimes the person named at the Land Registry is only the legal owner and not the beneficial owner, for example Mr Smith may hold the property for the rightful owner, being his daughter who in this case will be turned the beneficial owner.

We often advise clients on making claims against the legal owner asserting their beneficial interest in the property in question as, for example, parents may have contributed towards it purchase price and therefore they would said to be beneficiaries and a resulting trust.  If a co-habitant for example has paid the mortgage, they too may acquire a beneficial interest in the property under what is called a constructive trust.

There is also another situation which could arise where someone acts to their detriment in relying upon a representation made by another party, for example if Jane lends Peter money, and Peter being the owner promises Jane an interest in his property, Jane could argue that she has interest in Peter's property as a result of the common intention at the time.  These types of argument become relevant when advising cohabitees as more and more people these days live together before marrying.

We advise on co-habitation rights and rights to claiming ownership in properties.

We can also assist in a situation where there are two owners and only one owner wants to sell.  The Court, in such a situation, allows the other owner to purchase the co-owner's interest in the property and if there is no agreement to buy, the respective owner's interest at a fair and market value then one of the owners can make an application to Court for the property to be sold and for the proceeds to be divided in an equitable manner in taking into account past conduct and financial contributions towards the property. 

We are seasoned litigators and specialise in property ownership disputes and provide advice and assistance in area of law.