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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22322
Experience:  New Zealand qualified lawyer with 37 years of experience.
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1. We share a property with the son-in-law and his family.

Customer Question

1. We share a property with the son-in-law and his family. The house has two separate and self contained wings. All out-goings were initially shared amicably on a one third to two thirds basis. No written Property Sharing Contract was drawn up. He now refuses to pay his share or do anything as to the running and maintenance of the house. He presently owes us the following amounts.
1. Utilities $ 6,084.15
2. Materials 5,520.79
3. Work entailed 8,462.50
4. Loan 35,095.76
2. A detailed Spreadsheet of all items/bills with dates has been kept.
3. We cannot and will not continue subsidising him and therefore have no option but to
sue for this amount.
4. The total amount being in excess of $15,000 we cannot use the Small Claims Court.
5. The amount could be broken down in to three trances of items 1, 2, 3. but item 4
still exceeds $15,000.
6. E-mail Contract exist for item 4.
7. Seems we must therefore use the District Court.
8. Unfortunately we do not have the money to employ legal help.
Questions:
1.What charge might we lay for start of proceedings?
– possibly: 'Extortion by default of both Contract and Implied Contract'.
2. Can we seek redress in separate trance actions for items 1,2 and 3?
3. Have we any other form of redress?
Submitted: 22 days ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 22 days ago.

If these amounts are not in dispute, then you could try to bring a summary judgment proceeding in the District Court. But it may be easier if you are doing this yourself, to bring this as an ordinary proceeding. Your cause of action would be that there is a verbal agreement in which the parties agreed to pay the overheads on the basis as you have outlined. This verbal agreement is a contract, which your son-in-law has breached by failing to make the payments. A verbal contract is just as good as a written contract, and you can use emails, letters and texts as evidence of the arrangement and the default. So you are suing for breach of contract. To start this case you would need to file a statement of claim, notice of proceeding and attach all relevant documents. This would need to be served on your son-in-law. If he took no steps to defend, you could obtain judgment by default. If he does file a statement of defence in this matter will go to a pre-trial conference to set a timetable which will take this to a hearing. It is likely to be treated as a simplified trial because the issues are relatively simple. It is not essential to use a lawyer in the District Court, and you can act for yourself. If you need assistance with finding resources then the ministry of Justice has an excellent website.

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