TOLATA claims: what are they?

TOLATA is the abbreviation for the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“the Act”). Sections 14 and 15 of the Act are triggered where there is a dispute relating to a trust of land. In other words, and as an example, where there is a dispute between co-owners of a property, a party may be eligible to make a claim under the Act.

This article will focus on sections 14 and 15 of the Act as they are the key areas if you are thinking about making a claim or defending one.

Section 14 of the Act is the part which relates to making the actual court application, whereas, section 15 of the Act relates to the considerations in respect of that application.

The Act is extremely useful in various scenarios, including but not limited to; disputes relating to whether a property should be sold; disputes arising from the joint purchase of a property (whether as joint tenants or tenants in common); and disputes concerning the beneficial shares of a property.

In addition to the scenarios in which an application might be made, an applicant can also choose where the claim is made (which court) and whether it will be a Part 7 or Part 8 (Civil Procedure Rules “CPR”) claim. There are subtle but important differences between Part 7 and Part 8 CPR.

An experienced solicitor will be able to guide you through the intricacies of the Act and how to make a claim. However, it is useful briefly to mention the Court’s main considerations, under section 15 of the Act, in respect of dealing with a dispute of this nature. Although the following is not an exhaustive list, the Court’s main considerations are as follows; the intention(s) of the parties; the purpose(s) of the trust of land; whether there are any welfare issues (i.e. minors living at the property); or any interests of secured creditors or a beneficiary. Thinking of these considerations at the outset is a useful task for any claimant or defendant.

The result of a successful application could be that the property is sold, and the equity is divided in accordance with the claim. But the range of orders that can be made, the cost consequences of a claim, and the enforcement of orders are all further, intricate matters which require systematic advice. These considerations are beyond the scope of this article but are issues that Barrett & Co will advise on.

If you require advice on any of the above, then Barrett & Co would be delighted to assist. Our full-service team have experience dealing with these applications. Please call us on 0118 958 9711 or email nicholas.buckle@barrettandco.co.uk to discuss further.

Further reading

Possession Claims: what you need to know

Unregistered Land – A Cautionary Note

Excluding leases from the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954

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