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How to deal with property ownership disputes

There are many circumstances that can lead to a dispute over property ownership.

Who should be recognised as the rightful owner – or owners – of a property can very often result in acrimony and fierce battles amongst relatives.

Here, Lorraine Walker, a Solicitor with Mander Hadley, who specialises in litigation and dispute resolution, outlines why property ownership disputes can occur and how they can be resolved:

Inheritance disputes

One of the most common types of property ownership dispute can follow the death of a loved one.

An inheritance dispute, particularly where the family is extended and involves second marriages and children from multiple relationships, can result in complex arguments.

Various members of the family may believe that they are legally entitled to the property – or a share of it – and the dispute can become even more bitter where one family member believes they are entitled to continue living in the property.

The end of a relationship

Sometimes disputes over the ownership of a property can arise following the breakdown of a relationship.

Spouses or couples in a civil partnership who are seeking to separate will need certainty over an equitable split in their finances – with the family home arguably being the most valuable asset that will need to be divided. The situation is even more highly charged where there are children from the relationship living at home.

Although the law does not recognise a co-habiting couple in the same way as a spouse or someone in a civil partnership, nevertheless, a cohabitation agreement can offer greater certainty in the event that the relationship ends.

TOLATA claims

Claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) are claims to determine ownership of a property where there are multiple interested parties.

Any person who is a trustee of land or has an interest in property subject to a trust of land can request the help of the court to resolve the dispute.

Most commonly TOLATA claims are made when a dispute arises between non-married cohabitees who live in a property that is solely owned or owned as joint tenants/tenants in common.

Although TOLATA claims are usually pursued through either the County or High Court, it can be possible to deal with the matter of ownership using alternative dispute resolution methods.

Handling property ownership disputes

Property ownership disputes can be complex but our specialist legal team have experience of handling these claims.

We ensure that our clients’ interests are looked after. We offer a range of legal options including dispute resolution and mediation to deal with the dispute as cost-effectively as possible.

Where a dispute cannot be resolved amicably, we are also experts in litigation and can help you to obtain justice through the courts where necessary.

To find out more about our property ownership dispute service, please get in touch with us now.

Mander Hadley

Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.