We recently acted for a client involved in a co-ownership dispute. The wife owned 80% of the property and the husband owned 20%. We acted for the wife.

When the husband died, he bequeathed his 20% share in the property to his minor children. His sister was the trustee of his will and was responsible for managing the 20% share until it ultimately vested in the minor children.

Accordingly, our client remained 80% owner of the property while the deceased’s sister managed the 20% share.

As our client could no longer afford the mortgage repayment on her own, she requested consent to sell the property and split the proceeds 80:20. This seemed to be a reasonable request.

Unfortunately, the deceased’s sister did not agree to the sale. Additionally, the sister also refused to buy out our client’s 80% share or contribute 20% of the ongoing holding costs. A dispute ensued.

Under the Conveyancing Act, there is a process to resolve disputes between co-owners. We triggered this process and filed a court summons with supporting affidavit evidence from our client.

Soon afterwards, the case settled on terms most satisfactory to our client. The terms of settlement provided consent to the sale of the property by our client and a right to 80% of the sale proceeds.

We recommend that co-owners prepare a co-ownership agreement to clearly set out their rights and responsibilities to avoid disputes like this, however, this does not always happen. V.S. George Lawyers has experience in resolving these types of disputes for clients to essentially force the sale or partition of a disputed property.

If you or someone you know are involved in a co-ownership dispute or are interested in drafting a co-ownership agreement, please contact us on 02 9150 6991 or email [email protected].