The High Court has settled a dispute between a father and son over the division of shares in a property they bought as a joint venture.
They had worked together for several years, renovating properties and selling them on.
On 1 June 2012, they bought a hotel and campsite together. The transfer recorded that they were to hold the property on trust for themselves as joint tenants.
A dispute arose and in May 2013, the father served notice on his son of severance of the joint tenancy. That document gave notice “severing our joint tenancy in equity now held by ourselves as joint tenancy both in law and in equity and henceforth the property shall be held by us as tenants in common in equity in equal shares”.
The father then argued that he was entitled to four-fifths of the beneficial interest because he had made a greater contribution to the purchase price. The son argued that he was entitled to a half of the beneficial interest because that was what the father had promised, and he had relied on that promise when agreeing to the transaction.
The court found in favour of the son.
It held that the father’s case that he was entitled to four-fifths of the beneficial interest depended either on an agreement to that effect or on the presumption of a resulting trust. There had been no agreement and a resulting trust was merely a presumption which was contradicted by the wording of the transfer, which recorded that the father and son were to hold the property as joint tenants.
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