A relationship breaking apart is painful – but when you own a property together, life becomes more complicated says Karen at Porter Dodson LLP
Everything is in place. Your offer has been accepted on the house of your dreams; the mortgage has been approved; and you have instructed your conveyancing solicitor. You are buying with your partner; you are contributing more towards the deposit, but that doesn’t matter, you trust each other.
What happens if living together isn’t quite a perfect as you had imagined, the relationship breaks down and one party wishes to realise their interest in the property?
Co-owners get equal shares
The starting point with regards to legal ownership will always be the legal title, which is recorded at the Land Registry. Co-owners are usually entitled to joint and equal shares in the property, unless a clear contrary intention can be shown.
This situation often leads to disputes, so much future upset could be saved by simply entering into a Declaration of Trust at the outset.
A Declaration of Trust is a legal document which sets out the financial arrangements between people who have an interest in a property. The premise for the document is that it provides legal certainty surrounding property ownership and entitlement, which may vary from what is recorded at the Land Registry.
The Declaration of Trust is drafted specifically
for your requirements, it will record the arrangements surrounding contributions, mortgages, intentions, income, repairs, insurance, any indemnities and how the net sale proceeds should be divided on any future sale.
The Declaration of Trust is legally binding. This means the contract cannot be changed unless both parties agree, in which case amendments can be made. Ideally, a Declaration of Trust should be set up alongside the purchase of the property, but it is also possible to prepare one after completion.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of entering into a Declaration of Trust, please contact Karen Watts on 01308 555639 or firstname.lastname@example.org