PROP­ERTY LAW An­gela Brown


Nigel Read

LLP So­lic­i­tors WHEN I left my hus­band I al­ways as­sumed we’d divide our pos­ses­sions equally – in­clud­ing the house. But he bought it be­fore we mar­ried, and he now tells me that since the house wasn’t in joint names I’ve no claim on it. SEE a solic­i­tor so that a ‘charge’ can be put on the prop­erty pre­vent­ing your hus­band from sell­ing it or bor­row­ing against it with­out your knowl­edge. You can cer­tainly make a claim on the house: a solic­i­tor will ad­vise you about the like­li­hood of suc­cess depend­ing on a num­ber of fac­tors – whether chil­dren are in­volved, your re­spec­tive earn­ing ca­pac­i­ties now and in the fu­ture, your re­spec­tive needs, obligations and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, the length of the mar­riage, and the con­tri­bu­tions you have made both to the prop­erty and the mar­riage, and so on. WE paid off our mort­gage last year but never re­ceived the ti­tle deeds and the bank says it doesn’t have them. We’ve dis­cov­ered that the house isn’t reg­is­tered at the Land Reg­istry so we do need the deeds, but we’re at a loss where to try next. YOU should dis­cuss this with the so­lic­i­tors who did the con­veyanc­ing work to buy your house. But if you switched mort­gage lender at any time and your deeds were not passed on to the new lender they may be lost for­ever, in which case you will have to es­tab­lish your own­er­ship of the prop­erty through a Land Reg­istry pro­ce­dure. This in­volves a statu­tory dec­la­ra­tion and ev­i­dence of own­er­ship in the form of coun­cil tax bills and the like. If you’re not plan­ning to sell the house in the near fu­ture los­ing your ti­tle deeds isn’t the end of the world, but you should prob­a­bly sort it out sooner rather than later. WE are in our 70s, and own our home jointly. If one of us has to go into a home, would we have to sell the house to pay for it? IF only one of you goes into a care home, the value of the house will not be taken into ac­count when an as­sess­ment is made of their abil­ity to pay for it. They will be asked to pay in full if they have more than £23,250 in other as­sets cur­rently. This will in­crease to £118,000 next year, and fees will be capped at a max­i­mum of £72,000. The dan­ger comes if the sec­ond spouse also goes into a home, at which point the value of the house will be in­cluded in the as­sess­ment. You can re­duce the risk of the whole house be­ing avail­able for care home fees by di­vid­ing your own­er­ship of the prop­erty and mak­ing a will leav­ing your half to some­one else.

MY garage has been in a bad state of re­pair for years but I can’t rebuild one of the walls be­cause it means go­ing into my neigh­bour’s gar­den to do it. He’s com­pletely un­ap­proach­able and won’t let me on to his land. IF the wall is on the bound­ary you may be able to go to court un­der the Ac­cess to Neigh­bour­ing Land Act 1992 for per­mis­sion to get the work done. You have to give your neigh­bour rea­son­able no­tice of the date the build­ing work is go­ing to start and tell him how long it’s go­ing to take. How­ever for a garage wall it may just be eas­ier to build it from your side of the bound­ary. Newer prop­er­ties of­ten have clauses in their ti­tle deeds giv­ing them ac­cess to neigh­bour­ing prop­erty to carry out re­pair work, so it’s worth check­ing your deeds first.

Call SAS Daniels LLP So­lic­i­tors on 0161 475 7676 or 01625 442 100. Visit­daniels. If you have any legal ques­tions, write to Weekly Law and You, MEN Me­dia, Mitchell Henry House, Hollinwood Av­enue, Chad­der­ton, OL9 8EF, or leave your query on the legal ad­vice line 0117 964 4794.

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