Disputes Over Jointly Owned Property

Aaron Kainth (Student)

Sometimes owning a property jointly can lead to problems. It may be the case that a relationship has broken down with a partner, friend or family member and circumstances have changed meaning that one party may want to sell their share in the property, but the other party doesn’t.

One option may be for one party to buy out the other’s share. Before selling a share in a property it is fundamental that a valuation is obtained which will enable you to calculate your share of equity in the property to allow you to agree a fair price. If this is agreed, then the person that does not want to sell could have the property transferred into their sole name.

It may be the case that the other party will not cooperate with you.  It would be advisable to communicate with them and try to see if a mutual agreement can be reached regarding the shares in the property before proceeding further.

If you cannot reach an agreement, one option to consider is mediation, which involves an external party (known as a mediator) who meets with both parties and attempts to negotiate a settlement which both parties are happy with.

If the opposing party still fails to cooperate with you and mediation is not an option (or successful) then you can make an application to the court seeking an order for the property to be sold. This application would be made using the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA).

Staffordshire University Legal Advice Clinic (SULAC) offers free legal advice in respect of property disputes. You can either email SULAC@staffs.ac.uk or call 01782 294800 to book an appointment.

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