Q&As

In a dispute between cohabitants, where there is equitable accounting, will only the mortgage payments be taken into account or will the payment of utility bills be considered as well?

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Produced in partnership with Richard Colbey of Lamb Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 31/01/2019

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Richard Colbey of Lamb Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In a dispute between cohabitants, where there is equitable accounting, will only the mortgage payments be taken into account or will the payment of utility bills be considered as well?

Equitable accounting is an attempt by a court to create fairness between the parties. It was explained in Bernard v Joseph:

‘When the proceeds of sale are realised there will have to be equitable accounting between the parties before the money is distributed. If the woman has left, she is entitled to receive an occupation rent, but if the man has kept up the mortgage payments, he is entitled to credit for her share of the payments; if he has spent money on recent redecoration which results in a much better sale price, he should have credit for that, not as an altered share, but by repayment of the whole or a part of the money he has spent. These are but examples of the way in which the balance is to be struck.’

The words ‘equitable’ and ‘fairness’ are indicative of the court’s broad discretion and the inappropriateness of broad rules. It is most frequently applied where one pa

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