Expert help for resolving TOLATA claims
Where there is a dispute over the ownership of a property, the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) can be used to clarify ownership. TOLATA claims are often complicated, so specialist legal support is highly recommended.
David W Harris & Co can support clients with TOLATA claims in a wide range of circumstances, including where a couple who have been cohabiting disagree over their respective rights to the property. We can assist with court proceedings but, in many cases, these matters can be resolved out of court through private negotiation and other methods.
Our dispute resolution solicitors in South Wales can help with matters including:
- Advice on your property rights under TOLATA law
- TOLATA applications
- Defending a TOLATA claim
- Out-of-court settlements for property ownership disputes
Discuss your requirements with our TOLATA solicitors in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green
We offer a free first consultation to answer your questions and help you decide whether we are the right people to assist you.
Please use our simple online enquiry form to book a free initial chat with one of our TOLATA solicitors. We respond promptly to all enquiries.
Common questions about TOLATA claims
What is a TOLATA claim?
A TOLATA claim is a claim under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 that can be used to determine the ownership of a property for people who are not married.
A claim will most commonly be brought where a couple (or two other people who are not married) own a property together but there is a dispute over each person’s share of ownership. A TOLATA claim might also be brought where someone believes they have acquired a ‘beneficial interest’ in a property owned by someone else e.g. if they have contributed to the mortgage or carried out home improvements.
TOLATA cases can involve situations such as where a relationship has broken down and one party wants to assert or clarify their ownership rights in order to force a sale or get the other party to buy them out, as well as where the claimant wants to secure their right to continue occupying the property.
While TOLATA claims most often arise where an unmarried couple have split up and need to resolve a dispute over their ownership shares, they can also be used in a number of other scenarios. This includes where friends have bought a property together (or one friend believes they have acquired a beneficial interest in a property owned by the other) and where parents or grandparents have contributed to the purchase price, mortgage or other costs and need to recover their interest.
How long does a TOLATA claim take?
There is no standard time that it takes to resolve a TOLATA claim – it will depend on what approach is needed and, if a court hearing is required, how quickly this can be scheduled.
The important thing to know is that it will almost always be much faster to agree a resolution out of court, as well as saving you money on legal costs and the potential for a lot of stress. For this reason, we will always attempt out-of-court dispute resolution wherever possible.
How do you make a TOLATA application?
There are five basic stages to the procedure for TOLATA applications:
- Get expert advice on your TOLATA rights – A specialist TOLATA solicitor will be able to explain whether you have grounds for a claim or your rights where you are concerned that someone else may bring a claim. You can then make an informed decision about how to proceed.
- Letter before action – The claimant will have their solicitor prepare a letter setting out their case along with any relevant supporting evidence.
- Responding to the claim – The defendant should seek the advice of a solicitor to review the letter before action and advise on their position.
- Out-of-court settlement – In the first instance, the parties would ideally work together with the support of their solicitors to agree a resolution to the dispute. This can save everyone a lot of time, money and stress.
- TOLATA proceedings in court – Where an amicable resolution cannot be agreed, it may be necessary for the claimant to apply to a court for a determination. They will need to complete a TOLATA claim form with the assistance of their solicitor, then submit this to the court. A hearing date will then be set and each party will need to prepare their case, present this to the court and wait for the court to decide the outcome.
Our TOLATA solicitors can support you through every stage of dealing with a property ownership dispute, so please do not hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help.
How much does TOLATA cost?
The cost of dealing with a TOLATA claim will depend on the situation. The legal fees involved can be significant, especially if court proceedings are required, so this must be carefully weighed against the value of the property share in dispute.
It is common for TOLATA disputes to come with a lot of emotional baggage, especially where the breakdown of a relationship is involved. For this reason, many people get into the mindset that “it’s not about the money” and they simply want to make sure they are being treated fairly.
While this is very understandable, as solicitors, we have a duty to safeguard our clients’ best interests, so we will always be honest about whether we believe the potential costs may outweigh the likely benefits and guide you towards the best approach for your specific situation.
Our TOLATA dispute resolution fees
The cost of resolving TOLATA disputes will vary depending on the circumstances. It is always essential to keep in mind how the likely cost of making or defending a claim stacks up against the amount of money at stake. Our TOLATA solicitors will provide a realistic estimate of costs at the outset, so you can make a sensible decision about your plan of action.
For some aspects of TOLATA cases, we may be able to provide fixed fee support e.g. advising on your rights under TOLATA. However, if you are likely to need ongoing support with your case, then we will generally charge on an hourly basis according to an agreed rate.
Speak to our TOLATA solicitors in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green
To discuss your requirements with our friendly, sensitive experts in TOLATA claims in South Wales, please get in touch.
Please use our simple online enquiry form to book a free initial chat with one of our expert solicitors. We respond promptly to all enquiries.