When a relationship breaks down issues often arise with regard to the future of the property in which the parties were residing. If the property is jointly owned then the parties have a joint interest in the property and if one party does not wish to sell the property they will need to purchase the other person’s interest. If they fail to do so and fail to agree to sell the property then the non-resident party can make an application under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA) for an order for sale. In these circumstances the Court does not have the power to deal with the proceeds of sale in any other way than that in which the property is registered i.e. if it is jointly registered then the proceeds will be divided equally.

The Court does not have the power to order a transfer of the property from one party to the other as it cannot interfere with the title of the property.

In certain circumstances if a property is owned solely by one party and another party has contributed towards it, the Court does have the power to award that person an interest in the property or in particular, if there has been a promise by the household owner to give an interest in the property, the Court has power to uphold that.

If you find yourself in a difficult position concerning property and are unsure as to your rights you should seek legal advice.