If you lived with your ex-partner but you were not a legal owner of the property, you will not be entitled to any of the equity within it. However, if you can show that you have made financial contributions to the property, you may be able to apply to the Court to declare that you are beneficially entitled to a share in the property.
This is a niche area of law relating to the creation of trusts of land. This area of law is governed by the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“TOLATA”). Trusts of this nature do not need to be agreed in a formal manner, it is possible for these to exist informally. However, for a claim of this type to be successful, you need to show that you intended to gain an interest in the property and that you have suffered some form of detriment in reliance of the agreement.
Detriment can be as unambiguous as contributing financially to the running of the property, but it can also be established in less obvious ways. A recent appeal case demonstrated that detrimental reliance was evident where Party A had misrepresented to his partner, Party B, that she would not be able to obtain a mortgage over property that they both lived in, but that Party A solely owned. Party B had relied on Party A for her understanding, but to her detriment. It was held that the facts of this case constituted detrimental reliance and, his appeal was unsuccessful. Party B was therefore still entitled to a 50% share in the property. (Natalie O’Neill v Shaun Holland  EWCA Civ 1583, 2020 WL 06997189).
If you find yourself in a dispute over property ownership you should obtain legal advice to establish whether you may have a potential TOLATA claim, to establish that you are beneficially entitled to the property. You can contact the Civil Litigation department at Enoch Evans LLP on 01922 720333 (Walsall) or 0121 355 2336 (Sutton Coldfield) to obtain advice.