Co-habiting couples in Wandsworth could lose 'thousands of pounds' if they break-up
Unmarried co-habiting couples in Wandsworth could miss out on the benefits of soaring property prices if they split, a leading law firm has warned.
Figures obtained by property law specialists, Hodge Jones & Allen, reveal the 15,747 unmarried co-habiting couples in Wandsworth could lose ten of thousands of pounds if they split from their partner without legal protection for their share of the profits.
Disputes arise when one partner moves into a property owned by their other half and the partner moving in starts contributing towards the mortgage or pays towards home improvements.
It then becomes legally complex to decide how much each partner holds in the property.
The figures show Wandsworth has the highest number of unmarried cohabiting couples in London (15,747) combined with one of the capital’s fastest growth rates in property prices.
Land Registry data released on December 31 shows the average price of a property in Wandsworth has risen by 38 per cent between November 2008 and November 2013; equivalent to £133,000, despite the recession.
Half this amount, £66,500, could be lost by one of the partners if they split up without jointly owning the property or without a prior legal agreement of who gets what when the relationship breaks down.
Joseph Henry, from Hodge Jones & Allen, said: "Unmarried cohabiting couples have very few legal rights in English law.
"If a property is in one person’s name, their partner does not necessarily have a legal right to take a share of the equity when it’s sold, even if they paid towards the mortgage or home improvements.
"Splitting-up is the last thing on your mind when moving in together. But with an ever increasing number of cohabiting couples and with property prices continuing to soar, it’s never been more important to protect your investment in property, should you go your separate ways."
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