my wife and I were gifted a small parcel of land in the late 1990's. We only began the legal transfer process 2 years ago at the request of the owners. However, shortly after it being gifted and over the intervening years we carried out various landscaping changes - none of which received adverse comments from the owners at the time and in fact received positive comments. Now the owner is demanding the land back. We have run up solicitors and valuers fees as well, of course, as the costs of the landscaping changes. What is our position
Talking to the owners directly but without success
1. I regret to say that in law your position is very weak. Essentially, where a gift of land is made, unless the gift is perfected, such as by the transfer of ownership and an acknowledgement of the gift being made, then the original owners can claim the land back by way of a resulting trust at any time afterwards. Accordingly, I regret to say that the original owners can here claim back the land from you, even though you have carried out landscaping works to them. Essentially, you can claim the costs of the solicitors fees, valuers fees, and landscaping works from the owners. However, the owners can claim the land back from you, I regret to say. So, you should agree that the land is the owners but only if they pay the costs you have incurred since the 1990s on solicitors, valuers and landscaping fees.
Barrister 17 years experience
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