I have a one-page letter which appears to be sent from Emily’s solicitor to your solicitor.
In the second paragraph, it interesting to note that Emily alleges this is having emotional effect but couldn’t care less about that because she just wants the money!
They appear to be alleging that you lived together for 3 years not 12 weeks.
I don’t know whether the intention to buy the property jointly with her paying 50% in the future was real or a later fabrication.
Just because Emily wasn’t in the position to contribute financially didn’t mean that the property could not have been joint names.
In the fourth paragraph, they contradict what they said earlier.
Earlier, they said “lived together for 3 years”
later on, they admit that there was only work going on in the property and even then only for seven months.
I cannot see a second page and I do not have reference to any earlier correspondence.
What I think they are trying to do is bring a claim in Promissory Estoppel or Proprietary Estoppel.
Promissory Estoppell. This is a technical legal doctrine not used very often. It says that if anyone has been promised something during the lifetime of a person and they relied on that promise to their detriment then they are entitled to have whatever was promised.
The classic case is indeed the young man on the farm, who is told by the old man “don’t go off to seek your fortune son, but stick with me and work on the farm and I will leave it to you when I die,”.
So the young man doesn’t go off to seek his fortune and stays and works on the farm and it turns out that when the old man dies he leaves everything in his estate to the prize cow, Daisy or his new girlfriend, who is 30 years younger than he is.
In that case, the young man having given up a future (to his detriment) on the basis that one day (he was promised) the farm would be his and he believed it and relied on it, he can get a court order that the farm is transferred to him.
Such claims are not cheap or quick to bring in do require a large burden of proof of the promise and reliance to detriment.
What she is likely to allege is that she only worked on the property and paid for the bedroom (acting to her detriment) on the basis that she would some stage in the future have a claim against the property.
You are entitled to know how this claim is funded and whether that is the benefit of after the event insurance because of this goes to court, the loser could easily be on the receiving end of costs in excess of GBP10,000 and more likely approaching GBP20,000 and therefore, if she is bringing the action, and she loses, you need to that she is going to have the financial wherewithal to pay that money. Otherwise you can ask the court for “an order for security for costs” where she is going to have to stump up the money and pay it to court or provide some kind of security to pay your costs in the event that her claim is not successful.
Whether this is successful or not would depend on a whole variety of circumstances including what work she did to the property, what she was promised she would get out of it and what she can prove in respect of the same.
In your handwritten note you say that it was explained that it was her choice and that she would not get any financial benefit but you are going to have to prove that.
I’m sorry to say that this is far from cut and dried, that she has no financial interest in the property other than the cost of the bedroom. At this stage in time you need to consider making her an offer to refund the cost of the bedroom in full, in order to drop the claim. That would need to be done is a Civil Procedure Rules Part 36 offer which has certain criteria your solicitor will advise you about. If she accepts the amount of money on offer, that gets rid of the claim altogether. I cannot see that you have a defence to the claim in respect of the wardrobes and the rest of her claim is going to be very difficult for her to prove but also difficult for you to defend.
I have the 2nd page now.
She is alleging that money was put into a NatWest account in respect of home improvements. That would be easy for her to prove or disprove.
If she did give money in respect of home improvements, I would suggest that you readily agreed to refund that under the same Part 36 offer I mentioned earlier.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.
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