Land/property Law: Duane and Toby

Land/property Law: Duane and Toby

In 2010, Duane and Toby bought a small hotel in Sussex to run as a family business and to provide them and their two children with a family home. Toby’s father, Martin, also contributed to the purchase price, although he was not planning to live with the family. The property was conveyed to Duane, Toby and Martin as joint tenants in law and equity.

The relationship broke down and Toby moved out. He wrote a letter to Duane explaining that he wanted to sell the hotel and obtain his share of the value. Duane had sought legal advice and when Toby’s letter arrived he replied saying ‘If you are suggesting that you want to sever the joint tenancy, then fine. But I don’t want to sell.’ 

In 2016, Duane was diagnosed with a disorder which affects his mobility. As a result he converted some of the residential parts of the hotel in order to accommodate the wheelchair which he needs occasionally to use. Duane took out a loan secured against the hotel to fund these conversions. Unfortunately, business has been poor because of the recession and he has been unable to keep up repayments on the loan. Last month Toby died leaving everything to his two children.

Both the bank and Martin want the property sold but Duane wants to continue living and working there. He is particularly concerned about moving because he is unwell and because the youngest child, Esther, has special education needs which are being well met in a nearby school. 

Advise Duane as to whether the property is likely to be sold and how any proceeds might be divided. 

How, if at all would your answer differ if Duane had been declared bankrupt and it was his trustee-in bankruptcy who was seeking sale of the property?

Click here to request for this assignment help