Property disputes


A property dispute is common within property law, and will occur frequently over ownership rights. If you are currently involved in a property dispute, call us and we can discuss your options with you, including mediation, negotiating an out of court settlement, or getting you representation for a litigation case or an injunction.


Covenants are a common cause of dispute on both leasehold and freehold land. On freehold land, a covenant is simply a promise made in a deed. A covenant is usually made when the owner of a piece of land sells part and retains part of the land. The seller may not want the buyer to use the land in a way that can affect the seller’s retained land, so they may impose covenants on the land.

A covenant can be either:

  • Positive
  • Restrictive

A positive covenant requires the land owner to do something to, or on, the property. A property dispute will frequently occur with positive covenants as they do not ‘run with the land’ - meaning that once the original owner sells the property, the covenant applies to them rather than to the person he has sold the land to under the law of contract.

Therefore, when the person that entered into the original covenant sells the land, they will usually ask the buyer to guarantee that they will continue to uphold the positive covenant. In the event that they do not uphold the positive covenant, the landowner is required to sue the previous land owner, who can then sue the current land owner.

Particular problems arise when the land has changed hands lots of times.

Family law and property disputes

Another common form of property dispute is one in which a matrimonial home is in the sole legal name of a spouse. The problem is that in the event of a dispute between the husband and wife, one could seek to exclude the other from the house, relying on the fact that they have the sole legal ownership.

The law attempts to prevent property disputes by giving the spouse a statutory right of occupation. A spouse or civil partner may not be excluded from the family home without a court order. If the right to occupation is not registered, then it will not bind the buyer; however rights can be registered right up to completion so much time and money can be wasted by failing to properly investigate the property before exchange of contracts.

Property disputes over ownership can also occur when another person living in the house has contributed to the purchase price of the property, but is not the legal owner. This type of interest is an equitable interest and in registered land would be binding on a buyer of the land as ‘an overriding interest’.

In order to prevent a dispute arising in the future because of another person having an interest in the land, it is important that a prospective buyer investigates the exact status of each occupier of the property.

If you are involved in a property dispute, seeking early legal advice may mean that you can avoid expensive court fees in your case progressing to the litigation stage. If your case has already reached the litigation stage and you require representation, see our information page on property litigation.

If you need representation for a property dispute, or clarification on possible rights that third parties may have over your property, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist property solicitor. Our recommendation service is free of charge. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

0800 1777 162
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant


We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.