Success for PM Law in 30-year property dispute

Sheffield firm PM Law has won a property dispute for one of its clients, ending a family feud that has lasted for 30 years.

The dispute resolution team at PM Law worked for more than two years to resolve the dispute, which centred on a house in London owned by two brothers.

PM Law’s client, Noel Lopez, suffered years of financial struggle to keep ownership of the London house that he and his brother bought together in 1989.

“We bought together because neither of us could afford to buy a property on our own,” Lopez explained. “The house was registered in both our names, but I paid for all the legal fees and purchase costs. He walked out three weeks after we moved in, leaving me with all the payments for the endowment mortgage and bills.”

“At many times over the years, I found it extremely difficult to keep up the payments, but he never offered to help. As you can imagine, this caused a huge rift between us.”

Laura Thorpe, litigation expert at PM Law, continues the story: “When the endowment mortgage came to an end in 2014, Mr Lopez was unable to pay it off and faced the house being repossessed. The house had by then become the family home for himself, his wife and their two daughters and the prospect of losing their home cause a great deal of stress for the family.”

“With no choice but to sell, Noel Lopez was then staggered to find that his brother wanted 50% of the sale price, which at the time amounted to £120,000. ”

As Lopez was also losing his sight at this time, it was a very difficult period for the family. The former retail manager was forced to take early retirement when his sight loss made it impossible to do his job. But it did mean he was able to use his pension savings to pay off the mortgage.

“I’d had enough of the situation by then,” he said. “I wanted to get my brother off the deeds so I looked for someone who could help me. My union recommended PM Law in Sheffield, as they are property law experts.”

The team at PM Law were convinced that Noel Lopez had a good case. Thorpe explained: “Initially it seemed quite clear cut, and we thought it would be simple to resolve. But when the brother challenged us and filed a defence, it became a much more complex matter and it’s taken a long time to conclude.”

“The case was scheduled for trial and going to court would have been another stressful experience for Mr Lopez. However, we managed to have the defence struck out before it went to trial, which was a huge result for our client.”

“The judge awarded Mr Lopez full ownership of the property and also awarded him costs. It’s very unusual for a case like this to be struck out and also for the judge to award 100% ownership when it was previously split between two parties. We’re absolutely delighted for our client.”

Pictured: PM Law dispute resolution team Yvonne Gregor and Laura Thorpe