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Claiming a share in Property or Land
Generally, only those people whose details are registered with the land registry or on the deeds (in unregistered land) as owners legally own the Property, and any occupants such as friends, co-habitees, adult children or parents do not automatically have any ownership rights by virtue of such occupation.
When the property is owned in law by more than one person, they may hold separate defined shares of the Property. If the share has not been formally identified within a declaration or similar document, each share is presumed to be equal. This is known as owning the Property as ‘Tenant’s in Common’ and will be clearly identified with specific wording in the Deeds or Land Registry records.
Alternatively, the co-owner’s shares will not have been separated, in which case they will hold the Property as ‘Joint Tenants’ and simply own this together.
This distinction is vital as it affects the way in which owners can deal with the property and what will happened to the property upon the death of one or more of the owners. As a Joint Tenant, upon the death of one owner the Property or Land automatically passes to the remaining owners. As Tenants in Common, the specified (or presumed share) will be distributed according to the deceased’s Will or who is entitled under intestacy if a Will does not exist. Equally, if one party wants to sell or gift their share they can only do so if this has been formally separated.
Problems often arise when a non-owner contributes in some way to the property – such as to the purchase price, deposit, mortgage or repairs and maintenance, or when a share has been promised but not properly recorded.
Such contributions can give rise to what is known a resulting or constructive ‘trust’ which in essence means that an entitlement to a share will be implied by the courts looking at the conduct and intentions of the parties in correspondence or discussions. As such it is important to record details of any contributions and/or agreements or discussions, which will be vital in providing evidence of any entitlement.
If a share cannot be agreed through negotiation which would then need to be lodged against the deeds or at the Land Registry, a court application may be necessary.
Our specialist team are on hand to advise you how to establish the ownership of your Property or Land and how to define and split the shares as necessary, as well as advising as to your prospects of obtaining a share by way of an application for a trust: providing cost effective and clear advice and support throughout the process.
- Property issues
- Landlord and tenant disputes
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