Couple discover they do not own dream home despite living there for five years

jess and jackie
Jess and Jackie were recently told they had no legal right over the property. -Credit:ABC News

A couple who moved into their dream £600,000 home by the coast were beyond shocked after discovering that it still belonged to the previous owner five years later.

Jess and Jackie Morecroft paid over 1.2million Australian dollars for the property in 2018 and the value of the Mermaid Beach Home on the country's Gold Coast had surged to more than 2.7million dollars over the years.

However, many years after settling in they were informed by Queensland Supreme Court that the property still belonged to the previous owner - 83-year-old Hind Issa, despite the couple buying and paying for it.

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A court case presented evidence that the couple never registered the home under their names and Ms Issa, an Alzheimer's patient, had placed a caveat on the property claiming that it had been "fraudulently mortgaged by criminals" and that her signature was forged.

The two parties battled for ownership of the house and last year, the court ruled in favour of Ms Issa, reports ABC News, confirming that she was the rightful owner and the Morecrofts had no legal claim over it.

Speaking to ABC, Mr Morecroft had no hope for the situation, stating it could be devastating for them. He said: "There is an endpoint here for us, which would totally ruin us... it feels very desperate at this point."

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His wife added that she was living in fear due to the stress of potentially losing their home, where they had resided for five years. She added: "We're just normal people who have bought a house."

The couple's lawyer counsel had argued during the trial that Ms Issa's removal of the caveat on the property indicated that she no longer had an interest in the house. However, Justice Crowley dismissed the argument, stating that Ms Issa had only removed the caveat in exchange for $40,000 (£21,000) on the condition that she retained all her rights.

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But earlier this year, the Queensland government was ordered to pay compensation to the Morecrofts as they had spent $300,000 (£160,000) in legal fees due to the matter. The couple will receive $2.7m in compensation from the Queensland government, according to a ruling by the Queensland Court of Appeal.

Mr Morecroft expressed joy outside the court and stated that the verdict was "unbelievable", while his wife said that she was "incredibly relieved" to have the original decision confirmed unanimously.