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Relationship breakdown and housing rights

The breakdown of a relationship is always a very difficult time as it could lead to you leaving your home.

Man and lady

We will advise you on your housing rights. However, our advice is only guidance and not a detailed statement of the law which a court can give. You are advised to seek legal independent advice, if you are unsure of your rights.

Your rights will depend on whether:

  • you and your partner are married or just living together as husband and wife (cohabiting) and
  • whether you jointly own your home or rent it under a joint tenancy

Married or co-habiting joint owners/tenants

If you are joint legal owners you have a right under the law of property to live in your home. Neither of you can exclude each other without a court order. If your partner has excluded you from the home you can apply for an occupation order against them declaring or enforcing your rights to live in your home or regain entry if necessary. It can exclude your partner from living there or limit their use of it.

Remember, a council tenancy is an asset. If you abandon a tenancy without making proper arrangements, you may have problems with Housing Benefit, Council Tax or other benefits. Also, it may be very difficult to get another tenancy with a council or a housing association.

Married sole owner

If your partner is the sole owner of your home then you have equal rights to live there because you have matrimonial home rights. They cannot exclude you without a court order and you are entitled to an equal share in the money made from any sale unless the court decides otherwise. Again you can apply for an occupation order from the court.

Co-habiting with a sole owner

If your partner is the sole owner of your home and you did not provide any money to assist with the purchase of the property, you may still be able to take action to prevent losing your home. You can apply for an occupation order.

Transferring the property into your name

Where you are married, co-habiting, joint owners/tenants or tenancy in sole name only, you may still be able to ask the court to transfer the property to you. The court would take into consideration various issues eg if it is to benefit any children in the relationship, length of the relationship etc.

Paying the mortgage/rent yourself

Where you are granted an occupation order or the property is transferred into your name you may need to start paying the mortgage/rent yourself. You can speak to homeless prevention team about this.

Domestic abuse

If you are living with your partner and they have been violent or have threatened violence then you can apply to the court for an occupation order. The order can give certain rights like excluding your partner from the home or giving an injunction against going within a certain radius of the home.

Further information


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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 23 Oct 2017 at 13:21