Orders for Sale of Jointly Owned Property


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This Guide is directed at cohabitees who have purchased property together during happier times and now wish to sell the property and take their share of the equity. The applicable law is explained together with the procedure and steps necessary when a joint owner refuses to co-operate with a sale.

Owning land with another

When two or more people own a property together the law assumes the creation of a trust of land. Each owner is considered a trustee and to hold his or her beneficial interest in the land subject to a trust for his co-owner and beneficiary under the trust. This ‘automatic’ creation of a trust presents no difficulty when each owner has the same interests and aspirations but when they differ problems will arise. Often one owner will wish to sell the property in order to take his or her share of the equity whilst the other for one reason or another wishes to retain the property.

A common instance of the above is where cohabitees have purchased a property together as a home for joint occupation and the relationship breaks down. One partner wishes to remain living in the jointly owned property but the other wishes to sell and move on with his or her life. Although they hold the property on trust for each other the terms of that trust were not defined when they purchased the property.

A person with a beneficial interest subject to a trust of land may apply to a court for that interest to be defined and for orders relating to the operation of the trust. These can include an order that the property is sold and as to the nature and extent of the beneficiaries interests. The court has a wide discretion and range of powers to exercise the functions of the trustees in dispute as it sees fit.

Owning land with another 0

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 1

Considerations of the court 2

The statement of evidence 3

Costs 6Example Claim Form 7

Example Claim 2 10Example statement of evidence 13