This case considers how the equitable remedy of unjust enrichment applies to a multi-generational family living together in a shared residence and pooling funds to meet their household obligations.
S purchased the property and was the sole title holder. She paid $255,538 towards the down payment and had a mortgage of $125,000. She moved into the property with her 3 unmarried sons, P, M and H.
In 2004, P got married and his spouse, A, moved into the property. They ran their business out of the den of the property. They also eventually had 2 children who also lived in the property.
In July of 2008, S transferred a 1% interest in the property to A for consideration of $2 to help pay for M’s upcoming wedding.
The property was sold in August of 2023 for $1,185,000 with the net proceeds of sale totalling $753,233. Each party received $100,000 from the sale proceeds, and the remaining funds were being held in trust due to the party’s disagreement as to the proper distribution of same.
Was S unjustly enriched through P and A’s contributions to the property?
Did the 2008 transfer of title to A create a resulting trust in S’s favour?
The court began their analysis by reviewing the test for unjust enrichment which is reproduced as follows:
- Whether there was an enrichment,
- Whether there was a corresponding deprivation, and
- Whether there was a juristic reason for the benefit and corresponding detriment.
The court found that both parties benefited from the pooling of their resources to meet the household’s day-to-day needs. S benefited from P’s role as house manager and was able to live in the property at a minimal cost and making minimal contributions financially after falling ill in 2014. P and A benefitted from living with S as they saved money that would have otherwise been spent on occupational rent and business expenses, in addition to keeping their living costs low, and claiming valuable corporate tax credits. The court also assumed that their childcare costs were also low or non-existent due to S’s in-kind care. The court therefore concluded that because all party’s benefited from the multi-generational living arrangement, there was no unjust enrichment to S resulting from the contributions made to the property by P and A.
Further, as both parties provided consideration for their use of the property, there is no evidence they ever intended that P and A would acquire the property during S’s lifetime and as such. Further, A did not pay adequate consideration for her share of the property. The court found that A was added on title to the property to ensure that S could obtain a second mortgage to pay for M’s wedding. As such, the court held that A was holding her 1% interest in the property as a resulting trust in favour of S.
The court held that S was not unjustly enriched through P and A’s contributions to the property and that A holds her 1% interest in the property as a resulting trust in S’s favour.