Successfully defending a claim for a constructive trust and/or proprietary estoppel

Holly’s client owned a property in which he had allowed his daughter and grandchildren to live, rent-free, for 20 years. The daughter’s partner, the Claimant, had lived there alongside the family and had undertaken extensive works, including the building of extensions, which had increased the value of the property.

Holly’s client, the Defendant, had not visited the property for many years and said that he was not aware of the works, nor had he agreed to them. This was largely accepted by the Claimant.

The Defendant’s daughter having passed away, the Claimant claimed a beneficial interest in the property by way of constructive trust and/or proprietary estoppel. This was strongly opposed by the Defendant.

Following Holly’s expert representation, the Court agreed with the Defendant and found that there was no common intention constructive trust, and no assurances giving rise to an estoppel, particularly given that the Defendant had not been made aware of the works that were taking place. The Court dismissed the claim and ordered the Claimant to pay Holly’s client’s costs.