The Court recently made an order requiring a woman to move out of a house that she had lived in for four years, rent free.

The woman had purchased the house with her ex-partner, taking a loan from a Trust for her share of the purchase price. It was agreed that the woman could remain in the property, but that she would be forced to leave if she missed two or more months of mortgage payments.

The woman stopped making mortgage payments in March 2020. She remained in the property despite being served notices to leave by the Trust in both March 2022, and September 2022.

The property could not be sold while the woman lived there, and court proceedings commenced in November 2022.

The Court concluded that the woman had no reasonable ground of defence or explanation for delay.  The fact that she had “nowhere else to go” was not sufficient.

Given that there was no defence, the Court had to determine whether it should make an order for the sale of the property.

Some things that the courts will consider when making a sale order include:

  • The extent of the share in the property of any co-owner;
  • The nature and location of the property;
  • The number of other co-owners and the extent of their shares;
  • The hardship that may be caused by the refusal of the order and the hardship that may be caused by making the order;
  • The value of any contribution made by co-owners; and
  • Any other matters the court considers relevant.

The Judge considered that the Trust owned 60% of the property. The Judge also noted that while relocation would be stressful, the woman had “effectively been living in the property for free for the past three years.”

The woman had also been given time to leave the property and had failed to do so.  She had also failed to keep her promises to commence making mortgage payments again. The Judge ultimately ordered, at a hearing of the matter, that the woman leave the property.

However, the woman failed to leave the property by the specified order date. Another hearing occurred, at which the Judge reminded the woman that the Court could make an arrest order against her if she did not leave.

The woman left the property soon after.  It has now been sold.

It is important to be aware of your property rights and what your options are should an issue such as this arise.  If you do not act promptly, or put adequate safeguards in place, in the first instance, you may face substantial loss, as well as lengthy delays.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.