See this case: Liden v Burton  EWCA Civ 275.
It is an interesting case and helpful for people who are not on the title deeds but nevertheless make payments and help the sole owner and so acquire an interest in the property. In this case the woman enjoyed an award of 10% of the value of the property even though she was not on the title deeds and even though she had only moved into the house in 2002, it having been bought back in the 80s by the man and his previous wife. (He had bought her out by re-mortgaging.) For 12 years she made payments of £500 pcm and the Judge said that it was clear that she had been told she was making a contribution to the property and not just paying “rent”, which was the argument levelled at her by her partner. The judge decided that £200 of the £500 she was paying to her partner was towards assisting him with buying the house and paying of the mortgage. So the 10% was worked out on the basis of 12 years’ worth of £200 pcm interest, which was around £33,500 of a property worth £435,000. The judge relied on the principle of proprietary estoppel – an approach that is often used in contested will cases, such as Thorne v Major  where a claimant had worked on a farm for 30 years unpaid and had thought he was going to inherit it.