You and the Law – 11th August 2009

Going solo

I am buying a house on my own, and I wondered whether my partner could lay claim to a share of it.  My partner lives with me but he doesn’t contribute to anything.  PM

In order to establish a claim on your house while you are alive the onus is on your partner to convince a court, either with documentary evidence such as letters, or from recollections of conversations you’d held, that you intended to share the house with him.

Alternatively he would have to show that he’d lost out financially because of promises you had made.

If you were to die, however, and you had been living with your partner for more than two years, he may be able to make a dependency claim on your estate, including your house.

Long-stay parking

For more than 30 years I, and the owners of the three neighbouring houses, have been parking our cars in a common yard at the back shared with a small workshop.  The workshop has now been sold. 

The new owner says he has bought the yard and we can now park there only with his permission: he says the ‘right to pass and repass’ mentioned in the deeds doesn’t include the use of cars.  Have we acquired the right to park there?  SH

When you talk about a ‘common yard’  it suggests it may be owned by one or more of the properties surrounding it.  In that case you will all be free to use it and probably have a duty to maintain it jointly.

Alternatively you may be able to argue that your ‘right to pass and repass’ now includes vehicles, but this will depend on the wording of your deeds.
And if all else fails you may have acquired the right of vehicular access and to park your cars there through continuous usage. 

You and your neighbours should see a solicitor to examine your deeds and if necessary draw up a case to put to the Land Registry.

If you are successful your rights can be incorporated on to the registered title of the properties affected.

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