TOLATA Claims - Property Rights for Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples do not have the same rights with regard to each other’s property as those who are married or in a civil partnership. This can lead to disputes over the family home and other properties when a relationship ends. TOLATA claims can offer a way to resolve such disputes by referring the matter to the courts.

TOLATA claims refer to the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“the Act”). The Act governs the courts’ ability to decide how disputes over property between unmarried couples should be resolved.

A TOLATA claim can be used to resolve disputes over the ownership of a property as well as questions over who continues to live at the property. It is worth noting that someone may be able to make a TOLATA claim even if their name is not on the proprietorship register at the Land Registry.

At Tayntons Solicitors, we have the skills and expertise to proactively resolve property disputes when unmarried couples separate. Where possible, we can achieve this through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. However, should it become necessary, we are able to proceed with court proceedings.

If you wish to avoid the risk of a property dispute with your unmarried partner, you should consider making a cohabitation agreement. This can specify what would happen to any property if you were to separate, avoiding these kinds of disputes.

To speak to one of our experts about property rights for unmarried couples, call us on 0800 158 4147 or request a call back and we will contact you shortly.

How we can help with TOLATA claims

Our TOLATA solicitors in Gloucester can assist with matters including:

  • Negotiating settlement of property disputes for unmarried couples
  • Making TOLATA claims
  • Defending TOLATA claims

If you believe you were wrongly advised by your solicitor or conveyancer, we can also advise on the possibility of making a professional negligence claim.

How TOLATA claims work

There are several stages to dealing with a dispute over property when an unmarried couple separates:

  1. Attempt to agree an amicable settlement – This can be done through private negotiation between the separating couple and/or their solicitors. It is also possible to arrange mediation to hopefully settle the dispute.
  2. Issue a Letter Before Claim – If you cannot reach a settlement, then you will need to start a more formal process. The first step is to send a Letter Before Claim setting out your case and including any supporting evidence.
  3. Response to the Letter Before Claim – Your former partner will need to respond to the Letter, either accepting the terms or setting out their own position. If they were the one to issue the Letter, then you will need to respond through your solicitor setting out your position.
  4. Court proceedings – If you are unable to reach a settlement, you will need to make a TOLATA claim, putting the matter into the hands of the Court. A hearing date will be set and both sides will need to prepare their cases. Once the Court has heard both your claim and the claim of your former partner, it will decide how the claim should be resolved. It is important to note that the court process can be lengthy, therefore early settlement can minimise costs and allow the matter to reach a conclusion quickly.
  5. Settlement negotiations – Even if you could not reach a settlement before, you should attempt to settle the dispute both before and after court proceedings have started.
  6. The right to appeal – If you or your former partner are unhappy with the Court’s decision, then you may have the right to appeal, depending on the circumstances. You should take expert advice before considering this option.

Why choose Tayntons for help with property rights for unmarried couples?

Our team has acted for individuals in Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean and throughout the wider Gloucestershire area for over 160 years. Our advice will be clear and explained in plain English, with all of your questions answered.

Several of our team are members of Resolution – an organisation committed to taking a non-confrontational approach to family law. As a firm, we have been awarded the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation, reflecting the excellence of our practice management and client care.

Contact our TOLATA solicitors in Gloucester

Do you need help enforcing your property rights in Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean or across Gloucestershire?

To speak to one of our experts about property rights for unmarried couples, call us on 0800 158 4147 or request a call back and we will contact you shortly.

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To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email

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