"We are in a dispute about who owns our property - what should I do?"
It is not always clear who owns a property because the ownership of any equity is not always the same as whose name is on the legal title.
If your name is not on the legal title of a property or it is not clear that you have a beneficial interest by way of an express trust and cannot agree on ownership of the property you can apply to the court and ask a judge to declare the extent of your interest. However, it is usually always better to avoid court if at all possible
The judge will consider who has done what, including who has paid the deposit, the mortgage repayments and for any work done to the property. They will also try to establish if there is any evidence of an agreement or any promises made or about who would own the property and in what shares.
It is very important that you produce as much evidence as possible to clarify your case, including:
- Evidence of how the property was purchased
- What you have each contributed to the deposit and the mortgage repayments
- How have you managed your finances generally i.e. who has paid for what
- Any conversations, emails or texts you have had to help clarify your intentions
Only where it is clear a person has an interest can the judge decide what the outcome should be.
However, be warned it can be very expensive applying to the court to ask the judge to decide for you. If it is not clear from the evidence who owns the house, there is usually no guarantee what the judge will decide.
If the judge finds against you and in favour of your ex, you will have to pay not only your costs but also theirs too. You need to consider this risk when deciding whether to make an application.
Expert legal advice
For more information or an informal chat about your next steps, contact us on 0344 326 0450 or email us.