Property purchase with friends turns into a legal battle

BUYING a property with friends might seem an ideal way to save money, but two Middle Pocket residents have found it does not always end in domestic bliss.

They are locked in a legal battle in the NSW Supreme Court, with one co-owner claiming the other is trying to frustrate his attempts to sell up.

Nick Capolingua, Janine Da Silva and a third person had shares in an Upper Middle Pocket Rd property in 2003, with one living in the house, another in a machinery shed and the other in a converted silage shed.

The third resident moved out in 2007 and sold her stake to Mr Capolingua, meaning he could move out of the machinery shed and into the house.

Justice Rowan Darke heard the remaining duo's relationship soured in 2008 with Mr Capolingua also having a falling out with a man sharing the silage shed with Ms Da Silva.

"A high degree of animosity developed, and evidently remains," Justice Darke said.

"Applications for apprehended violence orders have been made by each of the disputants, and many orders of that kind have (been) issued."

The house and the silage shed are about 50m apart.

Mr Capolingua moved into a rental property in Mullumbimby last year due to the conflict, renting out the Middle Pocket house to friends.

The court heard Mr Capolingua tried to have trustees appointed to sell the property, but Ms Da Silva filed a cross-claim in an effort to block the move.

Both parties had signed a deed saying the house had to be marketed for 12 months before one party could force the other to appoint trustees to push through the sale.

"The plaintiff submits that he has attempted to comply with the deed but that his efforts to market the property have been frustrated by the defendant," Justice Darke said.

Mr Capolingua learned just how difficult it would be to sell a two-thirds share in the property in 2011.

Mullumbimby real estate agent Mark Cochrane explained to the court a prospective buyer would be unable to borrow money secured on the property unless the Ms Da Silva was also a party to the mortgage.

He said the history of conflict between the two parties, which was known in the community, would reduce the property's attractiveness.

Mr Cochrane said he had told Mr Capolingua: "There is no way you can sell your interest in the property with an aggressive neighbour still owning an interest in the property."

Ms Da Silva also refused to sign the sale documents unless Mr Capolingua completed extensive drainage and sewerage works or paid her $50,000 to do them herself.

Justice Darke decided adjourning the case until April was the best course of action.

"Adjourning rather than dismissing the application may avoid the need for fresh proceedings to be commenced," he said. -ARM NEWSDESK

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