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Dispute Resolution

Property ownership and cohabitation disputes

If you have a dispute with someone that you own a property with then we can help you.

Where you own property with someone else, disputes can arise. For example, you may disagree about selling a property or an argument about unequal shares in the property. Alternatively, you may have no “legal” interest in a property but have made substantial contributions to one. In these situations, we can help try to resolve disputes and use the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act to obtain a declaration from the Court and, if necessary, an order that the property is sold.

Some of the common situations which might affect you are where:

  1. You bought a property with someone else and paid more or less than the other person but this has not been properly recorded
  2. You moved in to a property with someone else and have made substantial contributions to the property since
  3. You loaned a sum of money to someone as a deposit on a property
  4. Since buying a property jointly with someone else, there has been a change in the circumstances, for example, one of you has moved out and wishes to sell the property, or where one party has stopped contributing to the property financially.

These situations are not limited to cohabitant couples and can equally apply to friends and family members. However, TLATA is not appropriate where the parties are married, as these issues are dealt with separately under Family Law provisions.

The law recognises that, in some cases, the position can change over time and our experts can assist you in dealing with that situation.



The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (often called “TLATA”) is an application to the Court to seek a legal determination of:

  1. Your true interest in a property; and if necessary
  2. An order for sale of the property and a division of the assets as determined by the Courts.

TLATA cannot force on party to purchase the other party’s share of the property although this is a common resolution during the process, often as part of a mediation or some other form of Alternative Dispute Resolutions (“ADR”).



Where cohabitants have children, additional legal assistance might be available as part of a Children’s Act application (often referred to as a “Schedule 1” application). Depending on the circumstances, it might be appropriate in these cases to make an application under TLATA and also Schedule 1. Our lawyers can advise and assist you in understanding the appropriate process, depending on the circumstances of your case.



Legal costs are an issue in TLATA applications. The Court has the power to order that one party pays the other party’s costs of a TLATA application. Accordingly, the parties should always look to follow a pre-action process before commencing a court claim. ADR is always advisable in resolving disputes, often by way of mediation (a form of ADR), and without the need to take the matter all the way to a trial. Most cases are resolved this way which minimises cost, stress and time involved in the process.


Why choose us

We have experts who deal with these situations frequently. We have an excellent track record of resolving disputes without the need to issues proceeds, or by way of negotiated settlement using ADR if proceedings are necessary. We understand these issues are often difficult and we will be both sympathetic and pragmatic. In certain cases, we are also able to offer funding arrangements which avoids the need to make a substantial financial legal cost outlay at the outset. In other cases, we have a series of fixed fees we can offer for each stage of the legal process so you always have price certainty on your legal spend.


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Dispute Resolution Services

Find out more about how we can help you with your legal requirements, with our experience in all types of resolution, mediation, and court action from the High Court and District Registries to the Local County Courts and Tribunals. Alternatively, complete our contact form or call us directly to speak to a member of our experienced team.