A notice of claim is a legal document through which a partner or spouse legally alerts any third parties that the person who lodged the claim has an interest in the land the claim is registered against.

Notices of claim are used to prevent the person’s rights being defeated, for example sometimes they can prevent a sale of the property from taking place without the partner’s consent.

A notice of claim may be applicable in situations where one partner has a registered interest in a property and the other partner does not, perhaps because when they began their relationship the registered owner already had the property, or had inherited it during the relationship.

The person who applies for the notice of claim needs to show that they have an interest in the property by virtue of their relationship with the owner of the property. Therefore, the applicant must have been in a qualifying relationship with the owner of the property, and they must have an entitlement to the property as part of a relationship property claim.

A notice of claim can be lodged at any point during the qualifying relationship or after separation or death, so long as the applicant can fulfil the necessary requirements.

A recent High Court decision emphasised the importance of understanding your right to lodge a notice of claim.

In that case, the applicant attempted to enforce a notice of claim over two properties in which his former partner had an interest. He claimed that the relationship had started in 2013 and ended in 2019 so he had the right to lodge a notice of claim against the two properties because the pair had been in a qualifying de facto relationship.

However, the former partner was able to prove that the relationship had lasted less than three years. Because the relationship was of short duration and the parties were not in a qualifying de facto relationship, the applicant was no entitled to lodge a notice of claim against the properties, even though the land would have otherwise fallen within the pool of relationship property.

If there is confusion around your relationship property entitlements, it is wise to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

 

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.

Gianna Menzies and Matthew Binnie

Family Lawyer
Wellington