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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71145
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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my father and I jointly own a property, which we were joint

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my father and I jointly own a property, which we were joint tenants on, since 1997. Several times I have tried living with my father but it doesn't work out. Anyway in 2012 my father decided he couldn't cope any more. I was living with my partner in a ground floor flat. We swapped over as it would be easier for my dad in a flat. Nothing was changed on paper apart from all the bills. Then he decided he didn't like being in the flat, didn't like anything I was doing in the house, so after 9 months we swapped back! he has now been to land registry and we are now tenants in common. In November2013, 8 months after moving I received an email from his solicitor asking me questions about the property and things that I have either destroyed, removed sold etc, and was given14 days to answer questions, which I didn't do. I have today 28/02/14 received a letter from my father threatening to take me to court, but no idea what for. Can he take me to court to answer questions? does the solicitor not have to send me letters? can he try and recover money from me for things he says are damaged etc. We were in the process of replacing kitchen, we had new flat roof done and were improving house.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I asked you the questions above

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can he try to take me to court to just answer questions?

can he take me to court and try to get money out of me for things he said were broken etc when we were joint tenants? I was improving the property as it has had no renovations done in over 30 years, some were dangerous.



If he takes you to court without actual warning you that he is going to and for what then you can ask the court to refuse costs against you even if he wins.

The court has the power to refuse to award costs against him even if he is successful if the court believes that he has acted unreasonably.

However, in principle, if he is asking for information then he can take you to court to get a court order to make you give that information.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

but if we jointly own the property and still do, why would the courts make me give him money, I was improving OUR property, which was going to mine when he passed away

He can take you to court for things that he alleges were broken in the property if he is alleging that you broke them because he has a 50% share in the property and therefore he has a 50% share in whatever in the property has been broken, although he would be entitled to recover 100% if he can prove this has devalued the property.

During the course of improving the property, you have to take things out and he can allege, before the remedial work is done, that you have damaged the property.

To answer in more detail I would need to know what he is alleging you have broken and under what circumstances.

Ultimately, he can actually apply to court for an order to sell the house and for the proceeds to be divided.

Under these circumstances, it might be something that you may want to consider doing anyway.

However he does have to tell you what he is claiming and from what you have said, he does not appear to have done that.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I had an email from his solicitor back in November with a huge list of things.

we had a valuation done (my fathers request) at xmas, and they said if we did the renovations value would go UP, but at moment it needed completely modernising!

so whatever I did definitely didn't de-value the property. I would happily sell the house, but he wont.

So I was given a list of things though I would have to dispute a lot of it.

If he won, I have no money to pay him, I have lost my relationship because of this, I have no home, I cant afford to pay, would the courts make me pay still

I am not certain what he is looking for then.

It is probably for the work on the property which has been started, to be finished.

If you have no money to pay for any court order the court can award him part of your share of the house which he would not realise that until such time as the property is sold.

He would only have a claim in respect of the down valuing the house resulting from the unfinished work. It may be that even though the work is only part finished, it has increased the value and then he has no claim.

The best thing that you can do at this stage is to answer all the solicitors questions because unless you do that, it appears that you are hiding something or your father is of course always at liberty to go and look at the property himself.

If you want to raise any specific queries for me, it will be easier for me to deal with those individually

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is living back in the property!

He waited 8 months after moving back in before going to his solicitor.

As he wrote me a letter today stating he was taking me to court in 14 days should I still reply to the solicitor or write back to him?

Surely on most of the list its his word against mine?

its ridiculous.

You said that you didn’t know what he was taking you to court for but there does appear to be a list of things which are outstanding which appears to be what he wants put right.

If it does go to court, it will be your word against his but if for example you have removed kitchen units or the kitchen or bathroom or doors or doorframes or anything like that, it would be easy to prove that to the satisfaction of the court.

If he has instructed solicitors, the protocol is that you write back to the solicitors although there is no harm in copying your father in on the letter.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, what I dont know is whether he is taking me to court for answers to his questions or whether he wants to try and get money from me for so called damages. The original email from the solicitor was never asking for money just answers to a list of things he says are missing etc. It is always going to be his word against mine though isnt it. I could lots of witness's though. And lots of vile letters of abuse my father wrote to me. This could go on for ages in a court arguing.

If there are a pile of vile letters of abuse to you from your father and you have them, that is a police matter because that is harassment and you are entitled to protection from harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act. However they are not relevant to the court proceedings unless there is something in them which is basically in agreement to whatever you were you have been doing.

My suggestion would be to write to the solicitor answering all their questions and sending a copy of your father's letter and asking them exactly what legal proceedings he is referring to. That is assuming of course that the letter threatening the legal proceedings did not come from the solicitor in the first place. If it did, then give them the answer to their questions and ask exactly what kind of proceedings they are thinking of issuing and for what
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