Law Commission on Shared Homes Law

The paper says that the person sharing the shelter may sometimes pay the mortgage installments or bear the expenses for the extended portion of the home. Sometimes the person may bear the household expenditure in lieu of the shared shelter on some understanding. Over a period of time, it is creating problems over the ownership of the house when the sharer dies or leaves the shared home for another place (Sharing Homes, The problem).

The discussion paper sources these problems to the ambiguity of the current law guiding these shared homes. The present law is not very clear on payments made by the sharer on behalf of the owner. For instance, mortgage payments made by the sharer are enough for staking a claim on the home. But, sometimes, the sharer regularly pays the household bills enabling the owner to pay the mortgage installments. Sometimes, the sharer may look after the household work.

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As per the law detailed in the discussion paper, a person who is not a legal owner but sharing the shelter in a home can claim an interest on it only when there is an equity arising by proprietary estoppel, when a resulting or constructive trust has arisen in his / her favor or when the sharer becomes a beneficiary under an express declaration of trust. In any of these circumstances, the sharer has to prove his / her right with sufficient proof. Because of these limited options available to the sharer, the law is termed as complex, arbitrary and uncertain in the application. It is also ill-suited to determining the proprietary rights of the home sharers. The discussion paper is of the opinion that the rules of implied trusts and proprietary estoppel are not as clear as they should be (Sharing Homes, Part I, Introduction).

An express trust arises when a person expressly declares that he or she holds property on trust for another or transfers property to another expressly subject to a trust. A&nbsp.resulting trust or constructive trust is part of an implied trust.

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