fbpx

Even Acts of Generosity Should Be Properly Documented – Cautionary Tale

4th August 2023 By

Even acts of generosity can lead to litigation if the basis for them is not professionally documented. That was sadly so in the case of a businessman who stepped forward to rescue close family friends from the threat of homelessness.

A couple with five children found themselves in dire financial circumstances. After the man was made bankrupt, an enforced sale of the family home was threatened. Their repeated attempts to obtain loan finance were rejected. The businessman came to their rescue by himself raising a £205,000 mortgage against the property.

Pursuant to an informal agreement between them, the property was transferred into the businessman’s name and the mortgage advance was paid to the couple, who used it satisfy their creditors and stave off possession proceedings. The couple thereafter met the mortgage repayments and continued to live in the property.

About eight years later, they sought to buy back their home from the businessman for the unchanged sum of £205,000. In resisting their request, however, he asserted that it had been agreed at the time that their entitlement to repurchase the property from him at that price would lapse two or three years after the transaction.

Ruling on the matter, the High Court noted that all involved had acted in great haste to face down the imminent financial peril that the couple faced. The businessman generously found a solution that could be implemented speedily and that secured the couple’s ability to carry on living in their family home.

In nevertheless upholding the couple’s case, the Court found on the evidence that the buyback agreement was open-ended and not time limited. Whilst that would be a very surprising outcome in a commercial context, it reflected the imminence of the possession proceedings and the close and affectionate relationship that the couple and the businessman had enjoyed at the relevant time.

It would, the Court found, be unconscionable for the businessman to go back on his assurance that the couple could, at any time, buy back their home from him for £205,000. They had relied on that assurance to their detriment. The ruling opened the way for the couple to repurchase their home from him at that price, plus any costs associated with discharging the mortgage and transferring title to the property.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Relationship Status Put Under Spotlight in Divorce Case

26th February, 2024 By

Divorce proceedings are rarely cut and dry, especially where the passage of time adds complexity to matters. This was certainly so in a recent case that required a Family Court judge to rule on the validity of a decree nisi. The case centred on the divorce proceedings of a couple in their fifties and focused on a decree nisi that had been pronounced in 2012, following an application by the husband. Now seeking to finalise the divorce with a decree absolute, the husband asserted that the decree nisi had been properly...

Will Execution – Remote Witnessing Legislation Expires

22nd February, 2024 By

A legal amendment that was made during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing the witnessing of wills to take place via videoconferencing has officially expired. As of 31 January 2024, the Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 is no longer active. It was introduced in response to the pandemic, as a means of facilitating the valid execution of wills via remote witnessing. The Order applied to wills made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022, but was later extended to 31 January 2024. Section 9 of the Wills Act...

Psychotherapy Condition Leads to Contact Order Appeal

20th February, 2024 By

Wherever possible, the courts will do what they can to support contact between parents and children but, in some instances, that contact comes with conditions attached. The nature of such conditions was the cause of contention in recent appeal proceedings brought by the father of two young boys. The man appealed against a High Court order that allowed for contact periods with his children, which would progress from supervised to unsupervised and increase in length but were dependent upon him engaging in psychotherapy. This condition had been imposed following a...

Beware of Builders Offering Cut-Price Work – Court of Appeal Cautionary Tale

16th February, 2024 By

Every householder should understand the dire risks involved in opening their doors to those promising to carry out cut-price building work. A Court of Appeal decision provided distressing examples of almost the worst that can happen. A householder approaching retirement age was taken in by a workman who knocked on his door, offering to paint the front of his home for £1,000. He was introduced to another man – the offender – whom the workman described as his business partner. The pair proceeded, over a period of months, to carry...