Land law Registration problem questionWatch
In January 2008, Isabelle and Stephen purchased the freehold title to Amiens Cottage. Isabelle had, for most of her adult life, suffered from a drug addiction, which had left her with severe amnesia (memory loss) and dementia. Isabelle contributed 80% of the £200,000 purchase price of Amiens House, and Stephen contributed the remaining 20%. Stephen was registered as the sole legal owner, as he had falsely told Isabelle that the government might take their house if she was registered as co-owner, because of her addiction.
Isabelle lived in the house, with Stephen’s help, for several years. On 18th March 2011, Isabelle was admitted to a psychiatric care home, where she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. She was not allowed to return to live at Amiens Cottage whilst under the care of the hospital. Exactly one year after Isabelle had been sectioned, on 18th March 2012, Stephen executed a legal mortgage over Amiens Cottage from Ypres Bank for £200,000. Prior to the bank’s inspection of the house, Stephen had removed the majority of Isabelle’s possessions and placed them in a local storage facility. Some of the large pieces of furniture remained, as did Isabelle’s cat (fed by a neighbour). Stephen made no interest payments to Ypres Bank, and did not live in Amiens Cottage, from that point onwards. The mortgage was duly registered on 30th March 2012.
On 21st March 2012, Isabelle was released from the psychiatric unit, and returned to Amiens Cottage. Her health quickly deteriorated, however, and on 31st March 2012 she died at home. All her property passed through her will to her daughter, Jeanne. In May 2012, Ypres Bank began proceedings for possession of Amiens Cottage.
Advise Jeanne as to whether she has any interest in Amiens Cottage and, if so, whether it would take priority over the mortgage.
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