The case of Scanlon v McLeay [2018] QDC 17 highlighted the fact that contributions to another person’s mortgage or purchase of property does not automatically give rise to a legal right in that property. In this case, the applicant sought equitable relief for the contributions she had made towards the property of her former partner, namely $49,000 towards a deposit for the property and $86,000 worth of ‘general contributions’ to the mortgage account.

While the respondent strongly argued that all of the payments were a gift, the court ultimately found that the deposit contribution did entitle her to an interest in the property by way of a trust of $49,000. However, the court took the opposite view on the more substantial contributions towards the mortgage, holding that these contributions were given for the applicant and her daughters in consideration to permanently live in the property.

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