Divorced wife wins appeal over rent on marital home

A judge had been wrong to order that a wife should pay rent to her former husband after she continued living in the marital home following their divorce.

That was the decision of the High Court in a case involving banker Kerim Derhalli and Jayne Richardson Derhalli.

Mr Derhalli sued his ex-wife for £500,000, claiming that she had been ‘trespassing’ at the couple’s £6m marital home.

The issue arose after they divorced and agreed a ‘clean break’ consent order to divide the family wealth. This saw Mrs Richardson Derhalli receive an £11.5m settlement.

She received an initial £6.5m and was due a further £5m when the house in Kensington was sold.

However, they were unable to sell the property for their £8m asking price.

She continued to live there, which led to Mr Derhalli telling her to “vacate the property within four weeks or start paying rent for her occupation”.

However, she argued she had the right to stay without paying rent until it was sold.

She continued to live there for nearly three years until the house was eventually sold for just under £6m.

Mr Derhalli then claimed £500,000 in rent for the three years that she had lived in the property.

The judge ruled in his favour, but the High Court has now overturned that decision. It held that the idea that the wife would be obliged to move out before the sale so that the husband could rent the house was very peculiar. The terms of the consent order strongly indicated that the wife could remain with her daughters in the home until it was sold.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.

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