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Resolving and Mitigating Property Disputes: A Path to Clarity and Fairness

Property co-ownership can lead to complex disputes when co-owners have conflicting interests. Section 66G of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) offers an essential legal recourse to resolve such disputes. It allows a co-owner to seek court intervention and appoint trustees to manage the sale of the property, providing a structured and impartial solution.

The Benefits of Section 66G:

  1. Structured Resolution: Section 66G provides a clear and structured process for resolving disputes. Co-owners can apply to the court to appoint trustees who will handle the sale of the property, eliminating ambiguity and personal disputes.
  2. Impartial Trustees: Trustees appointed under this section are typically experienced and impartial individuals who ensure a fair and just resolution. They handle property sale expenses, repayment of secured loans, and distribution of the sale proceeds among the co-owners.

Hogden’s Case: A Recent Real-Life Example: The recent case of Hogden v Hogden (2023) exemplifies how Section 66G can be used to resolve co-owner disputes. The case involved a property in Big Jacks Creek, initially owned by a father and son as tenants in common. After the father’s passing, his executrix sought to sell her share, but the son, Gregory, refused to cooperate. In response, the executrix filed a Section 66G application, initiating a legal process that ultimately led to the appointment of trustees and the sale of the property. The court dismissed Gregory’s claim for a “common intention constructive trust” due to a lack of substantial evidence. The court also ordered Gregory to pay the legal costs incurred by the executrix, emphasizing the importance of reasonable conduct in such disputes.

Resolving and Mitigating Tensions: Section 66G of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) serves as a valuable tool for resolving disputes among co-owners of a property. It provides a structured and impartial process, allowing for fair distribution of property sale proceeds. As demonstrated in Hogden’s Case, this legal provision can be instrumental in settling disputes, preventing protracted conflicts, and ensuring the equitable resolution of property co-ownership disagreements.

Co-Ownership Agreements: Accredited Specialist in Property Law, Commins Hendriks’ Solicitor Director Glen Lollback, emphasizes the importance of co-ownership agreements in such matters: “In my practice, I’ve witnessed the damage property disputes can inflict on personal relationships. My colleagues and I have assisted numerous clients through property disputes.” Glen recommends a well-drafted co-ownership agreement. Such an agreement should outline the procedures for sale or buyout and specify how the proceeds of the sale will be distributed, thereby providing clarity and fairness to all parties involved.