Stark warning for couple co-habiting [01/01/2016]

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Stark warning for couple co-habiting

Unmarried couples who buy property should seek advice what will happen if they split up. At Properts we explain the different types of ownership to all of our clients and ask them to decide. If your solicitor did not explain these differences to you could be in for a nasty shock about your property ownership if your relationship fails.

Appeal judges have ruled that a man who left his partner 17 years ago was entitled to a half share in the house even though he had never paid the mortgage. The couple owned the property as joint tenants and had no Declaration of Trust. So despite years of separation and the fact that the boyfriend hadn't contributed to the mortgage even when they were together, the girlfirend was told her ex was entitled to 50% of the three-bed home.

In the case the girlfirend paid the £6,000 deposit on the £30,000 semi-detached bungalow she bought with her then-boyfriend in 1985, she subsequently paid the mortgage for the eight years they were together whilst her boyfriend paid £100-a-week "expenses". The boyfriend moved out in 1993 and moved on, he paid no maintenance for the children. But he continued to own the house as joint tenants and was therefore entitled to a 50% share. It is often said the Law is an ass and this was definitely the case here as the judges had to follow the law rather then make it.

Properts advise all couples considering living together to contemplate and address the unthinkable, it is our job to look around corners and make people consider the consequences of a break up of their relationship. Many couples see this advice and the cost of a Declaration of Trust as an unnecessary expense, but as this case shows the addition cost is really essential. It is a bit like buying a car and not servicing it because of the cost, so when it breaks down the cost of repair is considerably more.

, Properts Solicitor Estate Agents and Notaries, Albion Chambers, Chepstow, Monmouthshire NP16 5DA 01291 627268