Q&As

Where a property has been built on land by someone other than the owner, what is the legal position of the person who constructed the property?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 20/10/2016

The following Property Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a property has been built on land by someone other than the owner, what is the legal position of the person who constructed the property?

Where a property has been built on land by someone other than the owner, what is the legal position of the person who constructed the property?

Case study:

A life tenant of a settlement has built a bungalow on property belonging to the settlement in which she and her husband reside. Upon the wife's death the settlement comes to an end and the land which forms part of the settlement is divided between the remaindermen. Does the bungalow become part of the settlement, can the wife bestow any right on her husband to use the bungalow or does the husband have any rights as against the trustees? How would the wife’s interest in the bungalow be valued and what is the legal position in relation to ownership of the property?

A life interest in an estate confers upon the beneficiary the right to the use and occupation of, or the income from, that land and amounts to a lease for life. In some cases the settlement will contain covenants and provisions relating specifically to the use of the land, but many will be less specific. Upon the death of the life tenant, the estate reverts to the grantor or some other specified person (known as a remainderman).

It may be the case that the life tenant seeks to develop the land, so as to provide a better income

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