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Land & Property Disputes

Co-Owned Property

The law around co-owned properties continues to develop. Whose name is on the registered title (the legal owner) is only part of the picture. Other people may have a share of the property (a “beneficial interest”) where they have contributed to the purchase or improvement of the property, or where the history of the property and the relationships between the people who live there mean that it is unfair for the legal owner to have all of the property themselves

Where there is more than one person on the registered title (joint legal owners) there can be disputes about their rights, for example:

  • How the property should be used
  • Who should be allowed to occupy the property
  • Whether the property should be sold.

We have a very successful practice in this area.

Cases we have acted on

Jointly-Owned Properties/Family business

Defending a claim in a dispute between 4 brothers over 4 businesses and 30+ properties. The Claimant was only awarded a share in the properties where he was already a legal owner. All of the businesses and remaining properties were preserved.

  • Because we had made suitable offers to settle the claim, no order for costs was made against our clients.

Partnership/Property portfolio:

Bringing a claim where the parties were all members of the same family and ran 2 partnership businesses, with numerous residential properties held in various names.

  • Our detailed knowledge of the documents and history coupled with a robust approach during a 12 hr meeting resulted in a settlement for our clients without the costs of a trial.

Ownership and Occupation of Family Home

A trial to determine the ownership and occupation of a family home, which had been transferred into the name of the opponent without our client’s knowledge.

Interpreters required at all stages, which compounded the challenges in dealing with disputed family history and subtle legal concepts.

Our client’s opponent was legally aided, so that our client had to consider the differing costs consequences.

  • Our careful investigation of 30 years of the family finances for the trial resulted in an order for the property to be transferred to our client.

Land Registration

The concept of land registration has been around in this country since 1925. The details of all registered land, including its owners, are maintained by HM Land Registry.

Over time, an increasing amount of land has been registered, either because it is compulsory or as a means of simplifying and protecting the position of the registered owner (proprietor).

It is now compulsory to register most dealings with land, including all purchases and transfers of land and, in some cases, leases.

It is also possible (and often necessary) to protect other interests in land by registering them. It is important to comply with the technical requirements of Land Registration. If not, those rights can be lost. Examples of interests could include:

  • Rights of access
  • Rights to do certain things on land belonging to others
  • Putting an entry on the register to prevent the sale of a property

The registered owner will often resist this type of application.

We are experienced in identifying the types of interest which can be protected by registration and the precise form which it should take (and there are dozens!).

Disputes about interests in registered land are dealt with in a specialist court – the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Land Registration). This was formerly known as the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry.

We have acted for registered owners and third parties in these disputes. In many cases we are able to keep the dispute out of court.

Cases we have acted on

Contested hearing re validity of signature on transfer document.

The applicant sought to reverse the transfer of a house to our client, claiming that his signature was not genuine. Although there were several hearings on the matter, it was eventually settled without a full trial.

  • Our timely and careful selection of a forensic document examiner allowed the parties to assess the risks of a full trial.

Resisted an application for registration of a right way

The applicant sought to register a right of way over our client’s land. We were able to resist this application within the HM Land Registry’s internal procedure for resolving disputes, which precedes a referral to the Property Tribunal

  • Our effective presentation of our client’s case meant that the application could be dismissed by the Land registry at minimal cost to our client.

Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation.