Making or Defending a TOLATA claim

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If you have co-owned a property or cohabited with someone and a dispute has arisen between you, you may be able to make a TOLATA claim.

Disputes may arise between co-owners of a property, or where only one party owns the property but cohabited with another. The dispute could be about the recent sale of a property, the beneficial shares of a property, or if not sold, who will remain in occupation of it. In these circumstances, you may be able to make a TOLATA claim.

What is a TOLATA claim?

A TOLATA claim is where two individuals have lived together in a property and dispute an aspect of their cohabitation.

The dispute could be regarding who actually owns the property. Perhaps Party A paid for the deposit and would like that to be reflected by being named on the land deeds.

It could be over who should remain in occupation of the property where both parties refuse to move out. In some cases, it could be about whether the property should be sold and who should receive the sale proceeds and in what proportion.

It is called a “TOLATA” claim as the Court makes a decision by reference to legislation known as the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 or TOLATA for short.

What’s Involved?

We understand that being involved in any legal dispute can be stressful. For that reason, our goal is to reduce your stress, time and costs by aiming to resolve your dispute outside of the Courts through tactful negotiation.

You can expect the general process of a TOLATA claims to look like this:

  • Letter Before Claim

A letter is sent to the opposing party setting out what you’d like and your legal position. This letter will give a short period of time for the other party to respond to it.

  • Response

The other party responds to the letter, either agreeing or disagreeing with the points made.

  • Negotiations and settlement

Negotiations will take place between the parties’ solicitors with the goal of settling the matter outside of Court. The reason this is the preferred option is that it carries less risk, it’s faster than going to Court which means the parties will have lower legal costs to pay.

If the parties are able to agree on a way forward, the matter will reach a conclusion. This agreement may include one party agreeing to buy the other’s share of the property or promising to move out.

If the matter settles, it is not necessary to take the claim any further and the process will end here.

  • Court

We try to avoid taking matters to Court in the first instance because of the costs and risk involved, but if the parties are not able to settle within the negotiation stage, and you have a strong legal position then you may be advised by your solicitor to formally pursue a TOLATA claim by issuing Court proceedings.

How We Can Help

Ashtons Legal have a team of expert solicitors with experience in this area. We are able to assist you in both making and/or defending this type of claim, as well as providing you with sound advice on how to protect yourself and your property from a potential TOLATA claim being made against you in the future if you are currently cohabiting or co-owning a property with someone.

TOLATA claims can sometimes have a crossover with family law so it will be important that the legal team working on your case have expertise in this specialism as well. At Ashtons Legal we are a true “full-service” firm with a prominent Family Law team and well-regarded Dispute Resolution team.

Finally, if you feel that you received previous poor advice from a conveyancer or solicitor’s firm in relation to your property and interests in it at the time of purchase or sale, Ashtons Legal can also provide assistance with a professional negligence claim.

If you need our help in making, defending, or getting advice to protect yourself from a TOLATA claim, please do not hesitate to get in touch to set up an initial consultation:

  • give us a call on 0330 404 0767; or
  • fill in our simple online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.


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