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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I own a house and shop combined my ex-partner is now trying

Resolved Question:

I own a house and shop combined my ex-partner is now trying to claim £22,000 off me for improvements made to the property. i.e. decorations flooring etc. does he have a right
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello I am a lawyer of over 5 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

LondonlawyerJ :

You are the owner of the property and he is not. At the time he did the work were you living together as a couple? Was there any agreement that by doing work he would gain an interest in the property or was he doing it to make the house nice or out of affection for you?

Customer:

We co-habited for 7 years the first four of which we had an agreement that I would continue to pay the household and utility bills and mortgage that he would do improvements to the property all improvement were done and decided by him and I had no input in the decisions made, he informed me that he was saving £1,000 per month!! After 4/5 years my son came back fro uni and started to pay board. I then felt it was only right that my ex paid board as well this did not go down well and he then stopped doing improvements and paid me £300 a month which he classed as rent. Naturally the relationship dissolved

LondonlawyerJ :

Ok thankyou for that I will answer you this afternoon. I Hope that is OK.

LondonlawyerJ :

The short answer is that he has no right to claim any interest in your property at all. In fact that is the long answer too. Has he put his “claim” in writing yet and has he made any threats of action?

Customer:

Yes I have a written letter from a solicitor stating that he has an aquired interest, and a judge may rule under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act. He says that me ex would not have willingly incurred these expenses and spent so much time and effort carrying out these improvements had he not believed that he had an interest in the property. My ex new he had no interest in the property and also had stated that if we were ever to split he would just walk away and make no claim as this was my house.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
This sounds to me like a wholly unmerited claim and as if he is trying it on. I am sorry to hear that he has found a solicitor to write such a letter.
Having done some research on this it seems to me that without either an express agreement or a direct contribution to the purchase price, the whole course of the your and his conduct in relation to the property would need to be considered.. But in one of the leading cases on this counsel were unable to identify a single case in which a variation of the beneficial interests had been held to have occurred based on conduct alone. (which is what he claims in this instance).
The most obvious case in which such an inference is possibl, is where contributions by one partner effectively free up the resources of the partner in order to facilitate payment of the mortgage.
This is a longer answer but still the same, he has no interest in your property. You can either ignore the letter or write back telling them that you dispute their claim and that he has no interest in your property.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would like to know as well under the TLAT whether he has any right his solicitor is informing me to sell my business and shop items that obviously were purchased well before my ex ever appeared upon the scene.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
He is trying it on and based on what you have told me his claim is without merit. If you want to knock this out good and early it may be worth instructing a lawyer of your own to reply. This will not be cheap (I would guess £200-£500 depending on location etc.)but may show him and his lawyers that you can not be pushed around and lead him to stop.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your reply this is very informative. I think the simple answer to my predicament is either to become a nun, never co habit again or get married. ........ I think I will become a nun!

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Unfortunately matters are not as straight forward as has been suggested.
What is actually important is the type of work that was done (there has been extensive case law on this)
So the issue is what kind of Renovations and work has he done.
If it was structural - involving major alterations or improvements to the property - new kitchen extension conservatory etc - that he actually paid for or did in person then he may indeed have a claim IF they have increased the value of the property (not all DIY does...)
If it was decorating and carpet laying and painting and adding exotic features (train set in the roof etc then no he does not.
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,


 


Now we shall get to the nitty gritty, I have a shop and post office theex had a fencing firm he used my garage as his work shop and then he decided to knock down my garage and build a new one which had better lighting in and was drier, He used this for 2 to 3 years also storing wood in my driveway also using my shop landline as his business telephone line. I also did his accounts and banking when I did my own accounts and banking. He paid nothing towards a rental for his business.


 


Other things were double glazing, a new kitchen, flooring carpets wardrobes. However please do not forget the amount if he was paying half my utilitiy and household bills per month would come to an awful lot more than he has spent.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
So the Garage was simply an improvement - an upgrade for his own benefit more or less.
The double glazing and the kitchen are a potential problem - how much did he spend on those and how much do they increase the value of the property?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Clare he has no invoices unfortunately he was a cash in hand man alot of what he has paid for he has paid for in cash so it is all circumstantial. Nothing has been declared he claims £2,000. The Kitchen is 7 years old and is very poorly done, by 2 lads who were claiming doll and working because they got caught while they were working on the kitchen, need I say more. The man is a rogue, and a philanderer. The double glazing replaced stainless steel double glazing, as well which actually was better quality but not new. The new kitchen £1,000 again no receipts or invoices.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Well all of that is good from your point of view
Best guess on the cost of the double Glazing - and any other structural work you can think of?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The only other thing was an ensuite which I paid for the porcelain and shower and shower unit so he hasn't even put that down. He ripped up my old patio and put a new one down again all paid for in cash again no invoices and he paid his son to do the work so nothing declared, problem is with all his work he can't prove it there is no paper trail. I do not he will go to court because he will have to prove everything surely and he can't it is all his work against mine. I am a parish councillor a school governor, a post mistress of 15 years. I hope a judge would believe me.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
But you admit that he did finance these works - and these works (including the Patio) DO give him a (very) small financial claim on the equity if he choses to take the matter further
From what you have said the figure will be between £2,500 and £5,000 - or in that region
I appreciate your point on the bills - but he could argue that the other work he did - carpets decorations etc covered that.
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So i will eventually make an offer of £3,000 which is what we agreed originally. I do not believe he will go to court and I could make a number of counter claims i.e. business based here telephone hire accounts setting up his business for him advertising secretarial skills, all free of charge.Do you think i could keep it down

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I think £3,000 is more than ample in the circumstances
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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