FINANCE: Property disputes involving unmarried couples

As more and more people choose to live together rather than marry, there has been an increase in the number of disputes between separating couples.

One of the biggest issues for these people is their interest in and right to occupy the home they had previously lived in as a couple. Other situations can also involve inherited property and property purchased for investment.

Many people do not realise that unmarried cohabiting couples do not have the same amount of legal protection as those who are married.

While property disputes can be complicated, Simon Arneaud, who is an experienced dispute resolution solicitor, is on hand to help you.

“Property ownership disputes are often governed by a piece of legislation called The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 – often known as TOLATA for short,” explained Simon.

TOLATA gives the Court the power to determine what share of the property each person is entitled to. It can force the sale of a property and it can make an order where one person refuses to leave the property but allows the other to regain access.

“If the property is owned in joint names the Court’s starting point will usually be, unless one party can provide compelling evidence such as, for example a signed agreement, to order that the sale proceeds for that property should be divided in equal shares,” said Simon.

“When a property is in one person’s name the court will generally state that they are the sole owner. However, the non-owning person may still be able to establish an interest in the property, if it can be shown that the couple shared a common intention that the property would be jointly owned.”

If you would like to know more or set up a Zoom meeting, or if necessary meet in person, to discuss a property ownership matter, please get in touch with Simon by calling 01256 854667, emailing or visiting

When contacting Phillips, please mention North Hampshire Lifestyle magazine.

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio