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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  UK solicitor
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A house is in the name of my niece and she lives with an older

Resolved Question:

A house is in the name of my niece and she lives with an older man who has children by a former marriage. My niece, divorced, also has two children. The man helps maintain the house and claims money he pays my niece is helping towards the mortgage. Does the man and, in the event of his death, his children have any claim on the property to the detriment of my niece and her two children.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thanks for your question.


1. Does he contribute more in rent/mortgage repayments than he otherwise would have paid if he was living in his own private rented accommodation?

2. Does he make capital repayments to pay off significant sums of the mortgage?

3. Does he pay for/carry out significant improvements to the property which improved the value of the property?


Kind regards,

Tom
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Q1 No


Q2 No


Q3 Yes

Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

My answer assumes that he did not contribute any monies to the initial purchase of the property and that they shall remain unmarried.

The position is that where a person is not named on the registered title to a property then you can generally only claim an interest in the property if you have made either a capital contribution to it (ie. financing the purchase or pay for significant works which materially increase the value of the property) or have maintained the mortgage payments/paid rent or bills/food to a total that is more than you would otherwise have paid in private rented accommodation in the area.
If he passes away then it would be for his executor to decide whether or not to take any action. The key thing in your niece’s favour is that he would not automatically be entitled to attempted to claim under the act in question (trusts of land and appointment of trustees act), he has to prove it at court if you dispute it. There is no legal aid for this and so he (or his executors) would have to pay their own legal fees. This presents a considerable barrier to entry because fees can range from £2500-10000+ depending on the dispute.

He cannot claim for day to day repairs. The improvements must be substantial in order for it to make financial sense to issue a claim because of the amount of legal fees it costs to issue and then litigate a claim.
For now, your lease should stop letting him pay directly off from the mortgage and only accept amounts from which are at the level of normal rent/outgoings for rented accommodation.


My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.


Kind regards,


Tom
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
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Experience: UK solicitor
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