If you believe you have beneficial ownership of a house (or part of a house), or you are contemplating providing funds to a family member for the purchase of a house (without becoming a registered owner on title) it is a good idea to obtain legal advice in respect of your position and to ensure that your interests are protected.

A situation which occurs commonly within families is when one family member makes a substantial contribution towards the purchase of a property, but for various reasons, is not recorded on the title of the property as being a registered owner.

This means that if the family relationship subsequently breaks down, there may be a dispute as to who ‘owns’ the property and expensive court proceedings may be required to have the Court determine, based on the individual circumstances of each case, whether there is in fact beneficial ownership, or whether the contribution was a ‘gift’. 

Although the Court can determine that a beneficial interest does in fact exist, despite the contributors name being absent from the title (which occurred in the 2014 case of Dimitrijevic v Dimitrijevic), each matter will turn on its own facts and a failure to be registered as an owner on title can mean that you are not aware when the property is mortgaged or sold by the registered owner, and if the registered owner gets into financial difficulty, the property may be exposed to creditors and your interest in the property may be defeated. 

If you are considering lending or contributing funds towards a property purchase and do not intend to become registered on the title, we strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice from one of our experienced Gold Coast Lawyers prior to doing so.

Even if the purchase of the property has already been completed, there may be other avenues of protection available to you, and we would strongly recommend that you contact one of our friendly and experienced lawyers on 5563 8970 to arrange an appointment today.