Mr. and Mrs. Rosset purchased a dilapidated farmhouse found by Mrs. Rosset. She knew that the purchase money came from a family trust fund, inherited by Mr. Rosset and it was required for the property to be in his name alone. Mrs. Rosset spent most of the time managing the work of constructors and aided in construction even in the absence of Mr. Rosset. The trust fund couldn’t maintain the renovations and the price of the house so Mr. Rossett took an overdraft from Lloyds Bank, unknown to Mrs. Rosset. He defaulted payments and Lloyds bank decided to take possession of the property. Mrs. Rosset then claimed beneficiary interest in the property. Issues
Does Mrs. Rosset’s activities of running the house amount to a beneficial interest? Was Mrs. Rosset in actual occupation of the property by the relevant date the property was transferred? Decision
The appeal was allowed and Mrs. Rosset won where the judges found that she had a beneficial interest in property. However, it was also decided that Mrs. Rosset was not in actual occupation by 17th December, 1982 (the date the property was transferred) and the judgment of possession was in favor of the bank. Reasoning
The court looked for an agreement between the two parties where in return for conduct by the claimant, it would be understood that the claimant will acquire a beneficial interest in the property owned by the sole owner. Mrs. Rosset’s preparation of the home for occupation could not amount to actual occupation based on evidence and her equitable interest could not be protected by the overriding interest of the bank’s charge. The judges’ conclusion was derived from the interpretation of section 70(1) (g) of the Law of Property Act 1925.