UK Property Law
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Do you have ready access to your title deeds please?
what would you like to know?
Thanks. Is there an entry in the "B" register which starts "RESTRICTION..."
If so could you type the first line or so of that entry. There may be more than one.
RESTRICTION: No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court.
Thanks. Finally did you contribute equally with your partner or did you contribute in unequal shares?
I didn't contribute at all but we have lived at the house since 1989 and the title absolute was put into both our names in 2009.
I'm interested in selling the house and wonderering if i'm legally entitled to half proceeds of sale.
If you are a joint owner of your property as tenants in common (this is what the restriction signifies) and you did not enter in to a declaration of trust or have any other evidence to show how you agreed to own the property between you, then the recent decision in the case of Kernott makes it quite clear the starting point for ownership is 50% / 50% in terms of shares in the property. However this can be shifted either of you can show by reference to financial evidence that you have contributed more to the property and that there was no intention on either of your parts to make a gift of such contributions.
The starting point is very much one of 50/50 and it would be for your partner to attempt to shift away from this if they so wished. The test is set relatively high. If you were unable to agree as to how to divide the property then ultimately you or they have a a right to apply to the courts for an order to determine your respective shares in the property. The courts have the power to impose a settlement based on what they believe is fair based on the evidence you can both bring. They would start from a position that you are entitled to 50% and it would be for your partner to adduce evidence to shift away from this.
Do I understand correctly from the Restriction that I if I wanted to sell the house, and my partner didn't, then I would have to get a court order to force the sale?
That is correct. Because you are joint owners you must both agree to a sale or in default of which you must obtain a court order. Either of you can seek a court order to force the others hand if you cannot agree.
What do you mean by 'the test is set relatively high'?
If your partner wished to claim a share greater than 50% the burden of proof is upon him and it is he that must bring evidence to demonstrate this. The burden is set at a relatively high test.
Do you mean that my partner would have to prove that although the title absolute is in both our names (and the restriction confirms that we are joint owners), the intention was not to give my 50% ownership of the property?
Essentially yes - he would need to show that he never intended to make a gift of half the equity he put in to you. No easy task particularly given the amount of time that elapsed.
Thank you very much Joshua, you've answered my question satisfactorily.
Does your service also provide family lawyers?
Yes. My colleague Claire will be able to assist you - if you post a question for her attention she will pick it up when she is next online.
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