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Sheffield law firm’s success ends 30 year property dispute

The PM Law Dispute Resolution team - Laura Thorpe (r) and Yvonne Gregor (l)

A Sheffield law firm has brought a 30 year property dispute to an end with a win for their client, who had gone blind during the process.

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

Their client, Noel Lopez, suffered years of financial struggle to keep ownership of the house he and his brother bought together in 1989.

“We bought together because neither of us could afford to buy a property on our own,” Mr. Lopez states. “The house was registered in both our names, but I paid for all the legal fees and purchase costs. He walked out 3 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, Mr. Lopez was then staggered to find that his brother wanted 50% of the sale price, which at the time amounted to £120,000. ”

As Mr. 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. However, 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 comments. “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 Mr. Lopez had a good case. Laura Thorpe explains, “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 2 parties. We’re absolutely delighted for our client.”