ASK THE EXPERT – “Myself and my partner have decided to separate.  We did live together, how do I protect my interest in that property?”

Thomas Tilbrook

Each week we are taking questions from our clients and contacts.  This week Mr Hanson from Sheffield asks

“Myself and my partner have decided to separate.  We’re not married but did live together, how do I protect my interest in that property?”

The Head of our Civil Department, Thomas Tilbrook, provides the following response:-

“Unfortunately, relationships can and often do breakdown.  When this happens disputes can arise between the parties in relation to the occupation, ownership and sale of property.

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“TOLATA”) can assist in this kind of dispute.  TOLATA enables you to apply to the court to determine who is entitled to occupy the property and the nature and extent of your interest in the property and that of your ex-partner.  The act also enables the court to order the sale of the property and to determine the mechanics of the sale.

If the property is owned jointly and there is a Declaration of Trust in place which sets out both of your shares in the property, then this can make any dispute much more straightforward.  However, if there is no Declaration of Trust in place it may be that you may wish to make a claim that you have a greater interest in the property if you have evidence that you have made greater financial contribution to the property.

If your property is held in the sole name of your ex-partner, you may still be able to establish an interest in the property, if it can be shown that you shared a common intention that the property would be jointly owned and vice versa.

Our Dispute Resolution team have extensive experience in both pursuing and defending TOLATA claims.  Our team will advise you of the most effective ways of achieving your aims at the outset of your case.   We will try to resolve your case without the need for court proceedings wherever possible and we are skilled in all forms of Dispute Resolution.”

You can contact Thomas Tilbrook and his team on 0114 3583134 or email us via our contact page


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We can confirm that our Sheffield and Barnsley offices are now open.  We are ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our staff and clients by offering an appointment only service.

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