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Why a Living Together Agreement would have avoided Walsh v Singh

January 16th, 2012 UK

In Walsh v Singh 2009, Miss Walsh admitted the beneficial interest in a property is purchased on behalf a single partner Singh under a constructive trust or estoppel property when the couple involved and they are living together, are separated.

Miss Walsh will not pay for the purchase of property, but did not make a significant contribution to the property and lend money to Singh. Property is purchased in the name of Singh and Singh paying a single mortgage. Ms. Walsh stated that although the property was purchased in the sole name Singh, meaning he had a half share. Ms. Walsh Mr. Singh lent money to buy land near Miss Walsh and used it to retrieve it shows the purchase of property and land is a joint venture. He also found the property, lease and planning permission researched, contributes to obtaining planning permission in the name of joint work and help repair, Singh helped with other activities of the business and give up a career center run by a horse that they planned to use the property for.

The judge ruled her contributions would be sufficient to give rise to a constructive trust or proprietary estoppel if the necessary common intention coupled with detrimental reliance existed or if the necessary belief in a shared or joint beneficial interest was both held by Miss Walsh and encouraged by Mr Singh.  The judge’s findings included:-

  • Mr Singh had provided the money and paid the mortgage on the property therefore the burden and risk were his alone;
  • There was an implicit arrangement that Mr Singh owned and controlled the property but paid Miss Walsh maintenance;
  • Miss Walsh’s contributions were down to her commitment to their relationship and her hope to marry Mr Singh, not because she believed she had a beneficial share of the property;
  • Mr Singh’s contributions were much more significant;
  • The couple kept their finances separate;
  • There was nothing in writing.

The judge not accept the assertion that Miss Walsh had promised, or encouraged to believe that has an interest in the property. The judge who has a claim against the property, but is entitled to repayment of loans granted to Mr. Singh. In addition to the property, the couple together have a villa in Italy, where the judge held the shares beneficial ownership of it and the wife of Miss Walsh is entitled to return the ring he had given Singh to re-size, but is not had back.

Had the couple made a Living Together Agreement or Pre-Nuptial Agreement setting out who had contributed towards the purchase of the property and whether the property was intended to be shared, particularly as the property and mortgage were in one parties’ sole name, then the costly application to court for a beneficial share would have been avoided.