Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020

Businesswoman sues ex-boyfriend for half of his £400,000 house

Businesswoman, 49, sues ex-boyfriend for half of his £400,000 house saying he evicted her as she claims she spent nearly £100,000 of her own cash on the property

  • Vijaya Jules, 49, is suing Jason Spencer, 51, for half his £400,000 Essex home
  • During six-year relationship she claims to have spent £100,000 on the property
  • They split up in 2018 and Ms Jules demanded he sell the home to pay her back
  • But Mr Spencer says she did not permanently live with him and paid for works to his childhood home ‘as a Christmas present’

A businesswoman who claims she was ‘evicted’ by her boyfriend after she spent nearly £100,000 of her own money doing up and paying for his house is now suing him for half the property.

Vijaya Jules, 49, was still living with her estranged husband when she got together with former police worker Jason Spencer, 51, after the pair met at an Essex gym in 2012, Central London County Court heard.

Ms Jules says she spent thousands of her savings on mortgage payments and renovations for Mr Spencer’s £400,000 semi-detached home while he was ‘not working’ and ‘had no money.’

She says she believed she was putting money into their future, but that later he booted her out of the house that was supposed to be their home together, and claimed it was all his.

They split up in 2018 and Ms Jules has now dragged her ex to court, demanding he sell the house – which is his childhood home – and give her half.

Vijaya Jules, 49, says she spent thousands of her savings on mortgage payments and renovations for her ex Jason Spencer’s £400,000 semi-detached Essex home while he was ‘not working’ and ‘had no money’. She is suing him for half the property

But Mr Spencer, now a commercial director, denies being out of a job when the work was done and says that the pair – who he claims had an ‘extremely volatile’ relationship – never actually lived together permanently.

Although she stayed for a month or so, she spent most of her time living elsewhere with her two kids and, when she did stay at his house towards the end of their relationship, she slept in the guest room, he says.

Judge Nicholas Parfitt heard that Ms Jules and Mr Spencer got together in 2012 after meeting at the gym and split in 2018 after – Ms Jules told the court – she had been ‘evicted’ by Mr Spencer from his house in Oakwood Hill, Loughton, Essex.

By then, she claims to have spent more than £50,000 on renovations and put in £32,000 to pay off his mortgage in 2017 – at a time he was not working – in the belief she was investing in a property that would be half hers.

In the witness box, she told the judge: ‘We knew each other from the health club we both attended. Our first date was in October 2012. At that point I was separated from my ex-husband but still co-habiting.’

She said the couple had begun talking about buying a house together in early 2013, but instead they decided that she would pay off his mortgage and refurbish his home in return for her owning half.

‘I paid for all of the works from my personal savings,’ she told the judge. ‘A lot of the times I paid for with cash and a lot of money was taken from my parents.’

But Mr Spencer, now a commercial director, denies being out of a job when the work was done and says that the pair – who he claims had an ‘extremely volatile’ relationship – never actually lived together permanently

Ms Jules claims that, in 2017, she stumped up £32,000 of her own money to pay off the mortgage on the house, which Mr Spencer had bought with his late mum, Eileen.

‘He wasn’t working at the time. He hadn’t worked since December 2015,’ Ms Jules continued.

‘There was no money coming from him to me ever – I paid for everything.’

Her barrister, Nigel Woodhouse, said she claims half of the house on the basis of a ‘constructive trust’ arising from an ‘express agreement’ between the two of them, as well as her spending on the property.

Richard Bowles, for Mr Spencer, told the judge that Mr Spencer did not leave his job with the Met Police until 2017 and, while there had been discussions between the couple about the property being shared equally, there was no agreement.

‘These discussions did not result in the parties agreeing that they would each be co-owners of the property,’ he said.

‘Rather, they resulted in Mr Spencer expressly stating that he did not wish to own the property jointly with Ms Jules.

‘She only lived at the property for a very short time, and when she would stay over – towards the end of the parties’ relationship – she would do so as a guest and sleep in the guest bedroom.

‘The property was plainly not used by Ms Jules as her home. No inference can be drawn from her visits that the property was intended to be owned by her, in fact the position was quite the reverse.

‘This is not a case where the parties owned the property together. Simply, the parties had a relationship and it didn’t work out. They did not live together, save for a very short and unsuccessful period in 2016, and the property did not form any sort of “family home”.’

It is claimed Ms Jules only stayed at the home in Loughton, Essex for about a month in 2016, and contributed towards an update to the kitchen ‘as a Christmas present in 2015’

He said Ms Jules had provided little evidence to back up her case.

As she stood in the witness box, he told her: ‘You are bringing this claim, claiming you own half of my client’s property.

‘Mr Spencer has lived in the house all his life.

‘You are asking the court to believe that there was an express agreement. There’s no evidence of that. All the evidence we have points the other way.

‘The only evidence we have of you making any contribution is one reference in a letter.’

But Ms Jules replied: ‘I don’t have any receipts. When he evicted me, he wouldn’t give me copies of any receipts. He said he needed them for his contents insurance. “It’s my house and you don’t need them”, he told me. 

‘I don’t have the receipts, but I did the refurbishment. He told me he had no money, but I would be added as a joint owner. That’s why I continued to do the refurbishments and eventually would have paid off the mortgage.’

Mr Spencer insists he was not supported by his ex, that he had been on a £30,000-a-year police salary at the time and they had each provided the other with emotional and financial support during the relationship.

He says he paid off the mortgage himself after selling another property and that he and Ms Jules split after arguing over her demands that her name be put on the house deeds.

Since 2013, she had spent almost all of her time living with her two children from her previous marriage elsewhere in Ilford, only staying at his home for about a month in 2016, he claims.

Her contribution towards an updated kitchen at the house had been a ‘gesture of goodwill and thanks’ for his support and as a Christmas present in 2015, he said.

The hearing continues.

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