Father & son in dispute over ownership of house

When family members buy a property together it is advisable to draw up documents outlining the extent of each person’s share, together with their rights and responsibilities.

Failure to do so can lead to a dispute over ownership of a property, as occurred in a recent case before the Court of Appeal.

It involved a father and son who decided to buy a house where they both could live. The property was put in the son’s name and both contributed towards the deposit. The mortgage payments were then paid by the father.

Several years later, the father travelled to India where he suffered a stroke. While he was away, the son sold the house leaving his father homeless.

When the father returned, he sought a declaration that he had a beneficial interest in the property.

When the dispute over ownership of the property reached court, the judge found that the evidence of the parties was unreliable for different reasons and that there was little documentary evidence. She inferred from the completion statement for the purchase of the property that the father had contributed between £88,000 and £100,000 of the purchase price of £139,000.

On that basis she decided that the father was entitled to a 70% interest.

The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any of the legal aspects of buying and selling a property.


Case featured:

CA (Civ Div) (Longmore LJ, Floyd LJ, David Richards LJ) 06/10/2016