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Cohabitees beware! In a recently reported case, a cohabitee and his partner agreed to buy a property in their joint names. In the event, it was only bought in the partner’s name (as the cohabitee was advised that a joint ownership mortgage could not be obtained). No specific agreement had been reached on what share of the property each would own.

On the couple’s separating, the court decided on the facts that the cohabitee was only entitled to 10 per cent, not 50 per cent of the property.

The moral of this story is:

  • Always take legal advice before embarking on a joint purchase;
  • Reach a clear agreement before the purchase on the shares each will have;
  • If, for some reason, the title deeds can only be in the other’s name, have them complete a Declaration of Trust confirming the agreed shares.

For more information on rights to property for cohabiting couples, any other issues raised in this article or about family law matters in general, please contact us on 0117 904 6000.