Cohabitee loans repayable

Posted: 23rd May 2012

Cotswold HouseWhen cohabiting couples fall out, what happens about the family home is often one of the most difficult issues to resolve.
In a recent case, a couple had split up after living in a house for several years, with the female partner being the legal owner and paying the ongoing costs.
After the break up, her ex-partner claimed that he had a beneficial interest in the property. However, his attempt to have his title shown on the property record at the Land Registry failed.
He then claimed that he was due a sum of more than £160,000 for money he had lent to his former partner that was used to refurbish the property. He claimed it was agreed that the sum would be repaid to him when his former partner's youngest child reached 18 years of age.
She rejected this argument, claiming that the sums he spent were receievd by her in lieu of contributions to the running costs of the property and household bills.
The case went as far as the Court of Appeal, which ruled that there was a sum due to the man and that it was repayable within a reasonable period of time. The case was remitted back to the County Court so that the sum payable could be decided.
For unmarried couples, a cohabitation agreement can often be a useful way of preventing disputes if and when the relationship ends.