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Complex disputes can occur on the disposal of property assets that are jointly owned and where there is no express declaration of the apportionment of shares in the property.
Such disputes fall under the Trusts of Land and Apportionment of Trustees Act 1996 and are often referred to as TOLATA claims. If you own a property jointly with others and there is no express declaration as to how the property was held, disputes may ensue potentially ending up with the courts deciding how to split the asset.
The presumption is that you own the property in equal shares unless there is an express agreement to the contrary. It is for the person claiming a greater interest to show that the shared intention was that the property was to be held in unequal shares in the absence of an express agreement.
The Court will take into account an extensive range of factors in ascertaining the true intentions of the parties; the nature of the parties relationship, how finances have been structured, any statements made by one party to the other, the reasons why the property was purchased in joint names, the purpose for which it was acquired, how the purchase was financed, any financial contributions both when the property was purchased and subsequently.
Equally when a property is registered in the sole name of one party, the presumption is that only that party has any interest in it. It will be for the person who is not a registered owner and is claiming an interest to rebut that presumption.
We therefore recommend that should you purchase a property jointly with others, then you should have a written agreement drafted that clearly sets out the basis of ownership and relative shares in the asset, that has been signed off by all parties to the purchase.
At Judge & Priestley, we have the experience and expertise to advise you on drafting a co-ownership agreement or to help you deal with any disputes that may arise due to a co-ownership issue.
If you would like to know more about Co-ownership Disputes, then please select ‘make an enquiry’ or call us on 020 8290 0333 to talk to one of our experienced solicitors.