You and the Law – 1st September 2009

Half a house

When I moved into my partner’s house we had it valued and I bought a half share, paying off his mortgage and becoming tenants in common.

I have now left, and wish to claim back my half share; the house is now worth double what it was then. He says he can’t afford to buy me out and it’s unfair that he will have to sell the house.

Can you tell me what my position is? I do have another property, and his teenage daughter has said she wants to move in with him. VC

Since you weren’t married you may be able to sell the house to reclaim your share without the need to go to court. Since the teenager isn’t living at the property and it has never been a “family home” for her she is unlikely to figure in the equation, although in theory your partner could claim that he currently needs to provide a home for her.

As regards the “unfairness”, you should point out that your partner has at least had the benefit of a mortgage-free home while you were together and, presumably, a lump sum.

Public holidays

I have been working for my present employer for six months and haven’t received a written contract. My employer has been vague about bank holidays but has granted the minimum 28 days annual leave.

Recently I have been told that I have to work all the bank holidays unless I take them out of my leave; I’m not allowed to take bank holidays without pay. MH

In the absence of a contract or other agreement you are entitled to 28 days paid holiday a year (5.6 weeks), which may or may not include bank holidays. Your employer is right: you cannot insist on taking bank holidays off, whether paid or unpaid.

You should remind your employer that you have a legal right to a statement of terms and conditions of employment, and if that doesn’t do the trick then apply to the employment tribunal for a statement of terms.

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