Geary v Rankine [2012] 2 FLR 1409

Key point
  • The presumption of sole beneficial interest in property registered in sole name difficult to rebut where property was bought for investment purposes
  • D and C (Mrs Geary) were in a relationship while C was in the process of divorcing her husband
  • D bought a guesthouse he intended to run as a business
  • D hired a manager but due to problems he started managing it himself with substantial help from his C
  • C claimed that she acquired beneficial interest in the guesthouse
  • C’s lawyer did not argue that there was any common intention to share beneficial interest when property was required but there was a change in common intention
Held (Court of Appeal)
  • There was no business partnership which could be inferred
Lewison LJ
  • The applicable principles had been settled at the highest level in Stack v Dowden and Jones v Kernott
  • The burden to prove common intention to grant a beneficial interest in a property held in sole name is more difficult to discharge where the property was bought as an investment rather than as a home
  • There was no change in D’s intention (at [22])
    • D had refused to recognise C’s interest as she was still married to her husband for fear of a claim from her husband
    • Over the years C asked D was interest she had, D either said that the property should remain in his sole name or was non-committal
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