Dispute over sale of syndicated SIPP property

A syndicated SIPP member had a 50% interest in a commercial property, the rest being held by two other SIPP members on an equal basis.

Our client wished to liquidate his interest in order to go into drawdown. Regrettably no agreement had been entered into between them when the property was purchased dealing with pre-emption or other provisions relating one or more of the SIPP members wishing to liquidate their interests. One of the beneficial co-owners refused to consent to the sale of the property.

Given the refusal of the SIPP trustee to market the property for sale in the absence of unanimous agreement, an application had to be made to Court under section 14 Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) for an order that the property be marketed for sale. The basis of the Court application was that the property was held on trust; the objects of the trust being to provide pension benefits to our client. No party would be deprived of any benefit in having the property sold as the net proceeds of sale would simply be apportioned amongst the respective shares of all three SIPP members. The SIPP trustee would also deal with the disposal of the property in a manner which safeguarded the interests of all SIPP members.

The issue of proceedings in the High Court did nothing to make the dissenting member reconsider matters and the application was defended.

The matter proceeded to a final Court hearing with an order for sale along with a substantial costs order against the dissenting member.