How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
35043042
Type Your Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

I have lived with my girlfriend in her house from day one.

Resolved Question:

I have lived with my girlfriend in her house from day one. she bought the property and put down a deposit. The deeds and mortgage are in her name.
I have paid 50% of all the bills and mortgage since we have been living there which has been nearly 4 years this Christmas.
We have broken up and I am leaving the house
We do not have children, we are not married.

I/we have carried out various improvement projects t the house, including new windows, new front door, new large block paved driveway, solar panel system on the roof and various redecorating.

Am I due any percentage of the increase in value on the property legally? or refund of my contributions to the value of the house? I am not interested in any of her deposit money in any case only the potential increase in value.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I clarify with you whether the mortgage payments you refer to are interest only payment or capital and interest please?

Joshua :

Do you still have receipts for the materials you have bought for the house or evidence you paid for them - e.g. bank statements?

Joshua :

Did you give labour time yourself or hire third party contractors?

Customer:

hello, thank you.

Customer:

the mortgage is interest only

Customer:

and we shared payments for the work and I carried out the work myself. some of which she paid me for but at a friendly reduced rate far less than a paying customer

Joshua :

Thanks. The starting point is that as you are not married you will have no claim to her property. You can take what is yours in terms of furniture etc but otherwise it is necessary for you to show some sort of capital contribution to the property in order to construct a claim to it as follows...

Joshua :

Unfortunately payment towards outgoings (this would include interest payments made against the mortgage) do not count towards a claim to equity in the property but as you can demonstrate that you have contributed towards the property in terms of making substantive improvements to the same you can attempt to evidence that your ex partner holds the property as a legal owner on a resulting trust for her and you in shares commensurate with evidence you can produce to demonstrate the improvements in value you have contributed towards the property - if you have contributed skilled time of your own in making improvements you can also claim a share in respect of your time spent so far as is reasonable. The burden of proof is upon you in this respect in terms of both evidence in the works you carried out monies that you have paid and estimates as to the likely improvement in value to the property they have resulted in.

Joshua :

You may need a solicitor to assist you with evidencing this if the matter cannot be agreed amicably and/or through mediation. If you can demonstrate that you have materially contributed towards the improvement of the property, you can also potentially establish a right of occupation until the matter is resolved though this may cause more problems than it solves so should be handled with care.

Joshua :

TLATA claims (which is what the above would amount to in terms of claiming an equitable share in the property - it stands for the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act) can be relatively costly to bring and can costs anything upwards of £1500-1750 for a relatively straightforward claim. However on the basis that you can evidence your contributions as above in principle you should have the makings of a potential claim against the property.

Joshua :

Mediation can often be a useful and cost effective approach in the absence of amicable agreement as it can allow for both parties to understand what the other could potentially achieve at court and try to achieve some measure of compromise without the need for a court claim. You may consdier suggesting the same if she is unreasonable in your eyes.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

yes just one minute

Customer:

what do you mean by this statement? living in the property? " establish a right of occupation until the matter is resolved"

Customer:

So I am only actually able to claim for the cost of the work carried out? Or am I able to claim for a percentage of the increase in value that the works have made?

Joshua :

The TLATA legislation provides that if you can show an equitable (money) interest in the property then you can claim a right of occupation in the property under the Act. However one needs to treat this carefully as in situations where a relationship has ended seeking occupation can result in deterioration for both parties which can distract from the main issue or generally be destructive generally.

Joshua :

You can claim what is reasonable - based on what the courts believe was the intention of both parties. i.e. if the court believes the money you spent were loans then you would be entitled to the money back plus interest. However if the court considers that on the balance of probability it was your joint intention that you were improving the property for the both of you to benefit then there may be a basis to claim a percentage share commensurate with the value of the property at the time of the improvements.

Customer:

Ok so I am potentially due a percentgage of the increase in value made to the property based on the improvements and work carried out during living there together.

Customer:

Does it matter if I move out, do I loose any power?

Joshua :

You may be able to seek a claim for such a percentage share if on the balance of probability you can show this was the likely intention of you both at the time as opposed to you making a loan of the money for repayment at a later date or a gift of the money. If your ex partner wished to claim the monies were a gift, the burden of proof would be on her to show as much. You do not loose your claim to the above by virtue of moving out but there is no reason you need to move out straightaway. You are entitled at the least to reasonable notice to find alternative accommodation - whatever is reasonable in the circumstances - and as above if you wish to push the matter could see an occupation order to continue to occupy the property until the matter is resolved.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

so would I be able to claim for my half of the work done on the property back and partial percentage of the increase in value or will I have to choose either or?

Joshua :

No I am afraid it is one or the other.


 

Customer:

sorry is that clear enough?

Customer:

ah ok.

Customer:

So is the first port of call a valuation?

Joshua :

Probably the first port of call is a discussion with your ex partner to see what can be agreed. Valuations will tend to come after that whether you can reach agreement or if ot prior to mediation or ultimately court if agreement cannot be reached.

Customer:

I do not want to take it to the courts but I needed to know my legal position before I have this chat with her. Because she is adamant I will not be getting any significant payment.

Customer:

now I know my possible entitlement I can discuss with her the options with facts.

Joshua :

Quite - mediation can hep her to understand her potential liability and help to focus her mind if you can't reach agreement yourself.

Customer:

what is mediation and how is that brought about?

Customer:

via the court?

Joshua :

There are lots of mediation venues all over the country. Your local court or solicitors can give you names and addresses if you wish to pursue this later. Alternatively googling can often give you local addresses too.

Joshua :

I hope the above has been of some assistance. I am just about to log off for a couple of hours to travel home. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though - I will be please to assist with any further a little later with your permission.

Customer:

yes very good thank you.

Joshua and 5 other Law Specialists are ready to help you