Property Dispute Looming? Now is the Moment to Seek Professional Advice

24th November 2021 By

A word out of place can lead to the sacrifice of valuable legal rights and that is why it is vital to seek professional advice the moment a potential dispute looms on the horizon. The point was made by the case of a couple who faced a challenge to their ownership of two plots of land adjoining their home.

The couple bought the land on which they built their home in 1993. Although they did not formally own the adjoining plots, they treated them as their own, using them as their drive and as part of their garden. In 2018, the registered owner of the plots asserted that the couple had encroached onto them unlawfully.

After a hearing, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that the couple were entitled to be registered as the plots’ legal owners. It did so on the basis that they had established so-called squatters’ rights over the plots, having enjoyed unhindered possession of them, as of right, for more than 10 years.

The FTT found that they genuinely believed that the plots formed part of the land they had purchased in 1993. On the basis of that belief, they had acted to their detriment in spending substantial sums of money on incorporating the plots into their property.

Challenging that outcome, the registered owner pointed to prior email and telephone correspondence in which offers and counter-offers were made with a view to the couple purchasing the plots. The correspondence was said to indicate that the couple held no genuine belief that they owned the plots.

Dismissing the appeal, however, the Upper Tribunal found that the correspondence benefited from litigation privilege and had thus rightly been excluded from evidence by the FTT. Given the accusation of encroachment that the registered owner had made, the correspondence was redolent with controversy and the potential for subsequent litigation was by then already obvious.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...