You and the Law – 22nd March 2011

In her name only

My son and his partner have split up after living together for 14 years.
They bought a house in her name five years ago, at the time they intended to buy a second house in his name and rent it out, but that fell through.
Now the house is up for sale and has increased in value.

If I’m not mistaken she will get the cheque, since the house is in her name, even though they have shared all the bills.  How can he make sure he gets a share?  SC

Your son should see a solicitor to register a caution against the property.
This means the house is virtually unsaleable until the issue of ownership is resolved.  However the threat may be sufficient to ensure an agreement is reached, which is of course a far cheaper option. 

Your son will have to show that the couple agreed to share the property and that he has contributed financially towards the mortgage and improvements, if any.  The intention to buy a second property will be important in explaining why their current home isn’t in joint names.

Choices, choices

I have worked for a firm for nine years and have a contract whereby I get double time and a day in lieu for Sundays and bank holidays.
People who joined after me are on a better rate of pay but don’t get extra for Sundays and only get time-and-a-half for bank holidays.  I’m told I can switch to the new system if I want to.  Can they discriminate like this over pay, and run two separate systems?  TY

Unless there’s a collective agreement in operation there’s no obligation to pay you the same as others in the firm.  That’s unless you could argue you were being discriminated against on grounds of race, sex or disability, or because you work part-time.  At least the firm is giving you a choice; many employers would probably try to force you to sign a new contract by less subtle means!

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