Co-ownership disputes

Why would someone need this service?

You would need this service if you are not married or in a civil partnership and either you are intending to buy property with a partner or have done so and problems have occurred.

You should seek advice from Grant Saw before you enter into any sharing arrangement with another person, especially if this involves moving in with them and living together. An agreement (known as a Co-habitation Agreement) can then be put in place to ensure that property is held as you intend it to be. We recommend that you read our separate section on Co-habitation Agreements in this regard.

If you do not have a written agreement and you are worried about what would happen if you and your partner separate, then we can advise you as to your rights and, if necessary, assist you in obtaining a court declaration to establish those rights.

How does the process work?

Each party should obtain independent legal advice. Grant Saw can advise you on your legal position and to start with, can talk to your partner’s solicitors to see if it is possible to reach agreement. If that is not possible then one of you will need to file a detailed claim at the local county court. The other party will file a response. Court proceedings will then commence which if they proceed to trial will ultimately be determined by a Judge.

As with disputes between married parties, mediation will also be available if you both agree to try to resolve your differences through this alternative procedure to court proceedings.

How long does it take?

The mediation process usually takes around 3 - 4 months to complete. However, if the parties are unable to agree settlement terms at mediation and the matter does need to proceed to court, it will often take around 12 - 18 months for a Judge to make a final decision at a trial.

Is it expensive? How do the costings work?

Costs depend on the amount of time a lawyer would need to spend on the case and this can vary from matter to matter and will be dependent on your personal circumstances. Often there is no written agreement to refer to and a Judge may eventually have to decide whether or not there was any agreement reached (such as a verbal agreement) between the parties and if so what the terms of that agreement were.

Your first consultation with us will be for a fixed fee of £100 + VAT for a face-to-face consultation of up to one hour. When we have established the level of service that is required based on your personal circumstances, we will provide you with a estimate for our acting for you from that point onwards.

This fee applies only to a  co-ownership dispute arising from a breakdown of a relationship

What should people consider before calling?

You should bring with you to the first appointment, any paperwork which may show the terms of agreement between you and your partner over the property. The more paperwork you can produce and the more information you can provide, the better understanding your lawyer will have at the outset.

Why are Grant Saw the best people for the job?

Grant Saw have experienced lawyers who are on hand to give their clients the best assistance and advice possible.

Co-ownership disputes tips

The law on this subject is very complex. Therefore, it is important not to guess what will happen if you were to separate from your partner. Instead, be sure to seek legal advice at the beginning to ensure that the correct provisions are made. This will minimise conflict in the event of you and your partner separating.

Co-ownership disputes myth busting

What myths surround this area?

Many people believe that there is such a thing as common law marriage, whereby a couple who live together, but are not married, acquire rights against each other. However, this is not the case. You do not automatically acquire rights just by living with someone for a period of time, unless you have made a firm written agreement or have made a contribution towards the property you are living in, which can be interpreted as giving you an interest. The law badly needs reform and is very complex in this area, which is why it is important to take professional advice regarding your particular personal circumstances.