Aldoukhi v Abdullah [2023] EWHC 3438 (Fam)20 December 2023

Published: 11/03/2024 21:40

Moor J. Claim for damages in relation to breach of a Part III MFPA 1984 order and TLATA order made in 2021.

In 2021 Moor J made orders under Part III MFPA and TLATA proceedings brought by W against H for the sale of three properties – Albion Gate, The Piazza and Craven Street – which the parties held as joint tenants pursuant to an express declaration of trust. On sale, it was estimated that the parties would receive approx £1,909,375 each. That decision is reported at [2021] EWHC 3086 (Fam).

The market appraisals were:

  • Albion Gate: £2.25m
  • The Piazza: £2.25–2.5m
  • Craven Street: £4.5m

H did not pay the mortgage or service charges and UBS issued demand letters in relation to The Piazza and Craven Street. A substantially lower offer of £1.9m was accepted on The Piazza. However, H offered to match this. An offer for £4,130,000 was accepted for Craven Street. Again, this was at a lower estimate than the appraisal at the hearing in 2021. The equity after deduction of mortgage arears and legal fees was £344,487 but only £330,000 has been received and was paid to W.

An offer for Albion Gate was made in April 2023 for £1,925,000. This was from a person known to H. H also placed tenants in the property which were said by W to obstruct the viewings.

W claimed she should still receive the £1,909,375 and she was owed costs including interest of £561,388. This was because: H allowed tenants to block viewings; the property was in a mess in the sales brochures; and he had failed to pay the mortgages and service charge which caused the appointment of receivers. The receivers’ costs stood at £252,734.

H denied all the claims, bar him not having the money to pay the mortgages and service charge. He pointed to the judgment which stated net proceeds may vary upwards or downwards depending on the eventual sales prices and the order provided for ‘an equal division of the equity’. Moreover, he encouraged the bidding war which increased the offers on Albion Gate to a price beyond that in the 2021 judgment.

In respect of the Piazza and Craven Street, Moor J found that H did not obstruct the sales. It took over a year to sell because the property market was slow and delay cost them both. Indeed, the difference between the new valuations ordered and the eventual sale prices was circa 5%. However, it was decided that H could and should have paid the mortgage and the service charges on the properties and they did not need to go into receivership and incur fees. Therefore, it was for him to pay the arrears, and legal and receivership fees.

With Albion Gate, Moor agreed that H was responsible for the difficulties with sale. He installed tenants without H’s consent, took rental monies, and did not pay service charges on the property. The tenants were obstructive when it came to viewings. However, as the eventual price of the property was more than the valuation the delay did not cause a loss. He did not need to account to W for the rental costs but she benefited from the property selling for more than expected.

H was to account to W for the balance of the sale proceeds not paid to her and the additional expenses incurred.


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