In a very recent ruling, the Court of Appeal found that an oral assurance by a partner that financial contributions were made 'towards the house' were sufficient for there to be proprietary estoppel, i.e there was an equitable right in the property.
When two people live together, unmarried rights can be conferred on a paying party in equity. If a couple are married and living together and choose to seperate the law is clear as to the division of assets. The difficulty comes when an unmarried couple, or even friends for that matter, are living together, where one legally owns the property and the other contributes.
The law dictates that even when there is no outright clear legal ownership if contributions have been made as in this instant case 'towards the house' then this would be sufficient for an equitable right to be found in the property.
In order for an equitable right to be found, there has to be an assurance that a party will have an interest in the property. There must thereafter be reliance on that assurance and then there must be a detriment as a result of said reliance. If these factors are present then a claim in equity may ensue.
If you have a dispute in relation to the ownership of a property and want advice as to your legal rights, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In Liden v Burton  EWCA Civ 275 the Court of Appeal held that an assurance given to the respondent that her payments were "towards the house" was sufficiently clear in the circumstances to give rise to a beneficial interest in the property by virtue of a proprietary estoppel. The Court of Appeal has held that oral assurances, asserting that financial contributions made by one party to the other "towards the house" were, on the facts, sufficient for an interest in the property to arise by proprietary estoppel