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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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I lived with my partner...

Resolved Question:

I lived with my partner John in his house years before he decided to start seeing someone else. He now sleeps at her house but comes here most days as we work same company from a home office. In the time I have been here we have extended the house greatly and I shovelled cement and painted inside and climbed scaffolding to paint the outside. I have helped put up new fencing and do all of the gardening and almost all of the housework.
I have been unable to save any money as I have always handed it over to John purposes, this was not a problem as I was given use of his credit card.
My daughter and her boyfriend have been paying a peppercorn rent to stay here and the three of us were going to continue to rent the house but now they have found a place of their own. The rental value is all of my salary so I am going to have to move out.
I have a lot of animals on the half acre of land here and would ideally like to come to an arrangement to keep it on. The actual value of the land is under £10,000 but the
marriage to house value is closer to £50,000.
I am really at my wits end as I will struggle to find rented accommodation that will let me keep my animals and as I breed dogs, parrots etc. to supplement my low income. This would cause me even bigger problems.
I don't want to rip anyone off but I do want to survive. Do I have any rights at all or am I totally up the creek without a paddle?
Many thanks in advance advice you can offer.
Kindest regards,
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  UKfamsol replied 1 year ago.

and thanks question.

I need a bit more information to be able to answer:

  1. Is the house in John's sole name?
  2. Who owns the land where you keep your animals?
  3. You've said that you've helped with redecoration & building work & gardening - what financial input have you made - especially to anything that has increased the value of the property or land?, and/or have you made payments of the capital element of the mortgage over the years at all?
  4. What is your annual income from all sources?
  5. Could you continue to work same company if you had to live somewhere else?
  6. How old are you?
  7. I think there may be a typing error here: "The actual value of the land is under £10,000 but the marriage to house value is closer to £50,000." What do you mean by "marriage" in this sentence?

It's likely to be this evening or tomorrow before I'll be able to get back to you once I get your reply - so please bear with me.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
Thanks very much. On reading your reviews I thought I could get help, Now going to talk to is it he or the ombustmen to reclaim my money that I can ill afford to loose.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So what. You are getting something from making people think they can get help and advice knowledge. Do you know how hard it is to feel so let down? Are you signed up to something that brings in money family at the expense of sipping unfortunate people off?

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.


There is an information request here from the Expert. This means they need to know more details before they will be able to give you a full answer. They are not able to help you fully without the requested information.

Please let me know if you do not wish to continue. We can process a refund on request as per our customer guarantee.

Thank you,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: I still need help.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

1. Yes

2. John

3. As I said before - I hand over the majority of my salary every month also other income such as tax returns, sale of produce and livestock that I raise on the land goes into John's hands.

4.Approximately £20,000


6. 57

7. The estimated value of the land as a stand alone plot is £10,000. To sell the house without the land would knock 40 to 50 thousand pounds off the house value.

Expert:  UKfamsol replied 1 year ago.

again and thanks information.

The legal position whose unmarried relationship ends is quite different from the legal position of a married person who divorces. Matrimonial legislation provides that once a divorce petition has been filed at court, either party can ask the court to decide how the assets of the marriage should be divided, and the court will order that the assets be divided fairly, regardless of in whose name they were originally. And the matrimonial assets mean everything including pensions and money.

However, cohabiting couple who separate, the only claim that either can make against the other is in relation to property, and that claim must be based on property law, rather than what is fair.

If you and John can negotiate an agreement, then you can between you agree anything you want – but if you cannot reach agreement, the only powers that the court has is a) to make a declaration of ownership in property – ie stating what share you each have in the house and the land, and b) an order , which can be suspended until the youngest child of the family has reached 18.

To explain a) in more detail: There are two types of interests in land – one is the legal interest, which refers to the name or names on the title deeds, the other is the equitable interest (also called the beneficial interest). In your case, as both the house and the land are in John's sole name, you do not have a legal interest in either.

However, there is a possibility that you may have an equitable interest in either the house or the land if you could show the court that you made a financial contribution to the capital element of the mortgage, and/or to the purchase price and/or paid that increased the value of the land or the house. But you would almost certainly have to show a direct contribution eg a payment going from your bank account into the building society mortgage account, rather than just a general contribution to household expenses. If the court was satisfied that you had an equitable interest in either or both the house or the land, the court would then state exactly what your share of the equity (ie the value of the house or land, less any mortgage on it) was. And the court could then order that the house or land be sold and the net proceeds divided as per the shares that the court had ordered - but once it was established that you did have a share, John would have the option (to avoid an order ), of buying your share from you, ie paying you a lump sum of the amount that your share was worth.

If you cannot prove that you have an equitable interest in either the house or the land, there is an even more difficult-to-prove possibility that you may have a right to compensation under the principle of proprietary estoppel. This principle states that if you acted to your detriment (eg by selling your own property or by giving up a secure tenancy) by moving in with John in the belief that you would have a share of John's property because of a promise he made to you, eg that you would always have the house as your home, then it may be that the court would order John to make a payment to you.

I have to say that the legal position of people in your circumstances is not at all straightforward, and is the kind of case where I would always instruct a specialist barrister. Unfortunately, there is no longer any legal aid type of case. I would advise you to see a specialist family law solicitor, who can then take all your details and arrange barrister to give a written legal opinion. You can ring around a few solicitors to find out how much this is likely to cost. Here's where to find a specialist family law solicitor:

But as going to court is time-consuming, stressful, and expensive, and with a very uncertain outcome, a better option is to try to negotiate with John as to what lump sum he could pay you (to enable you to move out and give you a fresh start), given the length of your relationship, and the financial support you have given him as well as help, over the years. You can negotiate either between the two of you, or via solicitors' correspondence, or via mediation. The family court anyway now requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application to court. Mediation would seem to be your best option, given your nervousness around John it's going to be better to have a neutral person have a round-the-table discussion with both of you (but the mediation process starts with an individual appointment with each of you). And mediation is cheaper than seeing a solicitor. Here's where to find a local family mediation service:

In your negotiation, you could point out the approximate total of the sums of money you have given John over the years, the cost of paying someone else to do the housework, the gardening, and all the other jobs you have done etc. John might be prepared to agree a low rent land on its own, which would allow you to continue to keep your animals there, even after you'd moved out to smaller cheaper accommodation.

I would advise you to start looking accommodation as soon as possible. The Citizen's Advice Bureau can advise you about what help you can get with rent and council tax, and whether you would be entitled to apply authority accommodation, or if not now, at what age (that's why I asked your age), or in what circumstances. Here's where to find your local CAB:

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience: Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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