We wanted to share a summary of a particularly challenging TOLATA case we recently undertook alongside Jessie Hansford of Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors, a solicitor we have had the pleasure to work with for some time.

The matter was brought under Section 14 of the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) for an order for possession, and sale of an inherited property.

The claimant’s case related to a property their deceased mother had left to the claimant and their two siblings.

There was a complicated background in respects to previous agreements to sell the property that had been designed to allow all parties to release their beneficial interests.  However, the first defendant was living in the property.  This prevented the previous sale as they steadfastly refused to vacate by the completion date.

Given the background, the claimants application sought sums for occupational rent to cover the period between the date of which the previously agreed sale had collapsed and the date the property was vacated, conduct of sale to the exclusion of the 1st Defendant, and costs.

The dialogue between the three siblings had deteriorated to the extent that it was not until the morning of the listed hearing that the first defendant even engaged in the proceedings.  In fact, they hadn’t had form of discussion with their siblings in almost a year.

The second defendant did agree with the sale in principal but sought to recover expenses they had personally paid out in dealing with the removal of charges on the property at an earlier date.

Working closely with our instructing solicitors, we formulated a multi-facet approach to the proceedings.  Our approach was specifically constructed to best assist and seek to resolve issues at the first hearing which was the claimant’s overall aim given the significant delays they had experienced to even reach this point.

More importantly, our pre-hearing discussions with the claimant allowed us to offer robust and clear advice on the available options alongside a detailed risk-benefit analysis of the same.  We then adopted a firm position so that we could pursue the application as drafted.  However suitable ground work had also been set for several alternative ways forward should negotiations pre-hearing be positive.

Meeting with both the defendants (all of whom were litigants in person (LiP)), the claimant’s position was put and explained so all understood.

Whilst managing the LiPs, we reached a fully agreed position that satisfied all the claimant’s requirements.  We were also able to agree a suitable timeframe for the first defendant to vacate the property and negotiate an acceptable sum to cover the reimbursement of monies to the second defendant.

We put all of this before the Court who promptly approved our order as drafted as the best way forward for all the parties involved in this challenging TOLATA case allowing them to leave Court not only satisfied, but also with a clear understanding of the path forward.

Our barristers have extensive experience of highly complex family, civil and criminal cases and are on hand to help your or your clients reach a similarly positive solution to their own legal disputes.  Please contact us today if you have a case you would like us to help you through.