Buying a house with a partner is a big commitment. If you’re unmarried and thinking about buying a property with a partner, it’s crucial to discuss and agree on the property ownership with them and your conveyancing solicitor.
It might be a difficult and sometimes awkward conversation to have, but if you don’t, things can really go wrong. Mr Rowland found this out the hard way
In March 2009, Mr Rowland funded an entire purchase of £1,550,000 on a property plus associated acquisition costs – the plan was for this to be used as a ‘holiday and weekend home’ for the couple. The couple both had properties of their own and never ‘saw fit’ to pool resources. The relationship began to break down shortly after the property was purchased.
Notwithstanding there was no declaration of trust as to the beneficial interest of the property, Deputy Master Hansen found there was a sufficient common intention at the outset that they were to share the property beneficially, and this intention did not change post acquisition.
This case is interesting as the property was purchased to be used as a holiday and weekend ‘retreat’ rather than a permanent home. It serves as a further reminder to carefully consider the beneficial ownership of the property, particularly if it is being funded by one party only.
In one sense, the outcome is a harsh one for Dr Rowland who contributed the whole of the purchase price in acquiring a country house to be used as a weekend and holiday retreat by a couple who each had their own properties and who never saw fit to pool their resources.
Seeking legal advice and drawing up a legally binding cohabitation agreement is really important for couples, especially those who are unmarried. Property ownership is something serious to consider at the point of purchase, to discuss and agree on and instruct your Conveyancer accordingly. We always raise this with clients and take their instructions in writing.
If you are thinking of purchasing a property, we have dedicated Conveyancers working from each of our office locations in Plymstock, Plymouth, Tavistock and Kingsbridge. Our friendly team are always on hand to help you with whatever advice and help you may require.