Land law co- ownership problem question! Watch
How do you structure your answer to this kind of co ownership problem q? Please help! Thank you
Q) In 2007 Dennis and April, who were unmarried partners, wanted to purchase a house called Pear Tree House together but did not have the necessary funds. April’s father, Victor, suggested that he contribute to the purchase and it was agreed that of the £400,000 purchase price, Dennis and April would contribute £100,000 and Victor would contribute £300,000. After some discussion with the solicitor acting for all of the purchasers, Pear Tree House was conveyed into the names of Dennis and April holding for Dennis, April and Victor as beneficial joint tenants. This arrangement was preferable to Victor because he did not expect to live very long and he wanted his interest in the property to go to Dennis and April rather than his other relatives.
In 2010 Dennis, without the knowledge of either April or Victor, mortgaged Pear Tree House to Sterling Bank plc to secure a loan of £150,000 to fund his business. April knew nothing about this and Dennis forged her signature on the mortgage deed.
In 2011, when relations between April and Dennis became strained, Victor wrote to Dennis offering to buy out Dennis’s share for £150,000. When Dennis received the letter and saw it was from Victor, he threw it in the bin unopened believing that Victor was writing to tell Dennis that he and April should try again and not split up.
In 2012 Dennis and April had a huge argument and, since Dennis’s business had collapsed, Dennis decided to leave the country and start a new life in Australia with his new partner, Carla. On hearing of this news Victor had a heart attack and died. His will left all his property to his partner Lucy.
Since that time April has lived in Pear Tree House and has spent £50,000 in installing a new upstairs bathroom. She now lives in the house with her new partner, Colin and his four year old son Thomas.
Sterling Bank plc is now threatening to take legal proceedings to enforce its security against Pear Tree House because Dennis has not paid any instalments for months.
Advise April both as to the nature and extent of her interest in Pear Tree House and whether she and Colin have a right to stay in the property.
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