Broth­ers at war

Cam­bridge grad­u­ate turfs his se­cu­rity guard sib­ling out of £750,000 fam­ily flat

Daily Mail - - News - By Emily Kent Smith

A LAW lec­turer has left his se­cu­rity guard brother home­less – and fac­ing a £200,000 le­gal bill – in a dis­pute over a flat.

Cam­bridge grad­u­ate Filip Sara­novic, 29, and his ‘ill- educated’ brother Nikola, 41, bought the £750,000 flat with money their mother gave them.

Tesco worker Nikola, wife Bo­jana and their daugh­ter, four, saw the prop­erty in Hamp­stead, North London, as ‘a home for the fam­ily for the fore­see­able fu­ture’, Cen­tral London County Court heard.

But a judge yes­ter­day told the se­cu­rity guard his fam­ily must leave their home, while he also faces pay­ing £200,000 in costs.

The court heard Filip, who al­ready owned two other flats, felt his brother was lazy and wanted to sell the flat bought in June 2014.

Af­ter talks in a cof­fee shop, they signed a doc­u­ment which – un­be­known to Nikola – gave Filip the power to force the sale of the flat and force his brother’s fam­ily out.

Judge Michael Berkley found Nikola ‘had no ex­press knowl­edge’ of the clause, and had re­lied on his brother ‘to ex­plain that im­por­tant part of the trans­ac­tion to him’.

But the judge said Filip had ‘done noth­ing wrong’ and Nikola, who was de­scribed as ‘clearly not a de­tails man’, had not taken enough care. He said Filip was en­ti­tled to ex­pect Nikola to take in­de­pen­dent ad­vice be­fore sign­ing, and the flat should be sold.

Judge Berkley said any other out­come would be ‘very un­fair’ on Filip, who stud­ied at Cam­bridge Univer­sity and Har­vard.

The court heard the broth­ers were given the money by mother Kata­rina af­ter their fa­ther’s death. While Nikola saw the flat as a home, Filip’s main rea­son for buy­ing it was a plan to de­velop garages at­tached to the build­ing.

Prior to the pur­chase, Filip, who lec­tures in mar­itime law at South- amp­ton Univer­sity, had a doc­u­ment drawn up stat­ing that his brother could live rent-free in the flat and his own share would be capped at £367,500.

But Nikola did not know the deed al­lowed ei­ther brother to force the flat’s sale a year af­ter the pur­chase. By Septem­ber 2014, they were not speak­ing as Filip be­came frus­trated Nikola was not

‘Gen­uinely shocked and dis­mayed’

try­ing to find a ‘proper job’, with no sign of him mov­ing out.

Martin Young, for Nikola, told the court the broth­ers fell out when Nikola re­alised the ‘dev­as­tat­ing’ im­pact the deed he had signed could have on his fam­ily.

The fam­ily has ‘fallen apart’ over the flat, with their mother re­gard­ing Filip’s wife Nevena as ‘a gold­dig­ger’. Judge Berkley said Nikola, his wife and the men’s mother had been ‘gen­uinely shocked and dis- mayed’ by Filip’s ac­tions. Mr Young said: ‘What Nikola wanted all along was to keep the home that he thought would be his for as long as he wanted it.

‘Filip knew that Nikola was re­ly­ing on him to know the na­ture of the doc­u­ment he was sign­ing.’

He told the judge that, while Filip owned flats in Cam­bridge and Southamp­ton, Nikola’s fam­ily had ‘no other se­cure home’.

He claimed Filip did not need the money im­me­di­ately, and ac­cused him of ‘mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion’. But Jonathan Up­ton, for Filip, said he had be­haved per­fectly prop­erly.

He said: ‘Nikola didn’t ask any­one to ex­plain [the deed] to him. He didn’t read the cov­er­ing let­ter. He didn’t take any care.’

Nikola’s lawyer claimed he had been ‘naive’ and ‘ill-educated’ and ‘sim­ply signed what he was told to sign with­out ques­tion­ing it’.

The judge made an or­der for sale of the flat, with mar­ket­ing to be­gin in one month to al­low Nikola and his fam­ily some time to ‘ad­just to the idea’ of leav­ing their home.

Fam­ily fall-out: Filip Sara­novic and wife Nevena out­side court

Bill: Nikola and Bo­jana Sara­novic Dis­pute: The North London flat

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