We are often contacted by clients who own a property with a partner or spouse however that relationship has broken down and they wish to move on. Often they will want to sell the property but the other owner refuses and wants to stay in the property. This problem can arise with any joint owners who own a property as Joint Tenants.

So what can be done?

Well ultimately if one party wants to sell the property it must be sold.

Practical options of course are for one party to buy the other party out. The paying party has to pay market value for their co-owners share, unless they agree otherwise of course. A Solicitor will be needed to carry out the transaction to ensure that the property is transferred correctly and any mortgage dealt with.

Problems can arise however where one party refuses to do anything and won’t sell. In this scenario the party who wishes to sell will have to issue Court proceedings to obtain an Order for Sale. The Court will give directions about how the property will be marketed and sold. The directions may include an Order for the party occupying the house to vacate. If that party has been unreasonable, the Court may Order that the costs are paid from that parties share of any net proceeds of sale.

It is therefore important to take legal advice if you feel that a property is to be sold but your co-owner is refusing or if you indeed are that party who is refusing to leave. The sooner you are advised on your rights the quicker the dispute is likely to be resolved. This will mean that costs are kept to a minimum and any stress and strain is dealt with by professionals, rather than damage the relationship any further.

If you would like to discuss any issues such as these with our Disputes and Litigation team, please contact us for an initial discussion to see how we can assist you.