Owner of property – capital query

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    I'm hoping someone has had something similar and can offer some advice…I will try to summarise as best I can.

    * Claimant is 62 year old woman living alone in a house owned by her children

    * She is joint owner of a property occupied by her ex-partner. Land Reg shows her as joint owner. Property value is estimated to be £150,000 and there is no mortgage outstanding. 

    * Claimant says she has nothing to do with the property, ex-partner bought it when they were together and put it in joint names. She says they split up earlier this year due to him being violent and now she cannot make any contact with him for fear of further violence.

    * The other property has been disregarded for 26 wks from the date she left

    The claimant says she cannot sell her share of the property or do anything about it due to the situation with her ex. She is not willing to obtain any legal documents to confirm this. She has agreed that we can get a valuation as long as the VOA do not contact her ex at all.

    I just don't know how to treat this property. The claimant says she has nothing to do with it but her name is still on the Land Reg records and presumably if her ex died she would be entitled to the house.

    Has anyone else had anything similar or have any suggestions about what we should do? There are other complications with this claim – claimant has just started claiming HB after 20 years of living in her property rent free (her children have suddenly decided to charge). But that's a whole other story and if her capital exceeds the limit we won't have to go there…



    Are you saying the clt has never lived in this house and her name was put on it by her ex, who bought it when they were together but didn’t live in it until they split up? The legal position is that she has to agree to a sale and (on paper) is entitled to some of the equity, although her ex might be able to make a case that beneficially she shouldn’t get much. There is no reason why the VO would need to contact her ex but when you ask for it to be valued you will need some basic information – are they joint tenants or tenants in common, what legal restraints are there, for example. You certainly can’t assume she will inherit it if he died. If they were not married that almost certainly won’t be the case unless he’s made a will gifting her his share. The house would have to be sold for her to realise her asset. With enough information the VO should be able to give a realistic value of her half, but if she won’t co-operate you would just have to assume £75,000. The burden of proof is on her to show otherwise.

    John Boxall

    If you are a joint owner, as opposed to ‘tenants in common’ then on the death of the joint owner, the whole property reverts to you

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    Agreed John. In my experience it’s not usual for unmarried couples to be “joint tenants”.


    Thank you for your replies. Very helpful. I will send off to the VO and see what comes back…

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