Unlike married couples or those in a Civil Partnerships, cohabiting couples do not automatically have financial claims against each other upon separation.

Property rights for unmarried couples differ depending on whether the couple live in rented accommodation or whether they own a property together. In this blog, we look at some of the most common questions cohabitating couples have about their legal rights in respect of property:

Do I have a legal right to remain living in our home if my relationship has broken down?

Rented property

If you are living with your partner in rented accommodation and you are not named in the tenancy agreement, you have no rights to stay in the property if your partner asks you to move out.

However, if the tenancy agreement is in joint names you both have an equal right to stay in the property if your relationship breaks down.

If necessary, it is possible for a court to transfer the tenancy.  For example, you may wish to transfer the joint tenancy into your partner’s sole name.  However, bear in mind that your landlord would have to agree to any change to the tenancy agreement.

Top tip:  Before moving into rented accommodation with your partner, ensure the tenancy agreement is in joint names.

Owned property

If the house you live in is owned by you both, you both have an equal right to remain in the property if your relationship breaks down.

If you are the sole owner of the property only you have the right to remain in the property unless your partner obtains an order from the court that he/she has a right of occupation, known as an Occupation Order (more about this below).However, it is important to understand that your partner may be able to claim a ‘beneficial interest’ in the property.  A ‘beneficial interest’ may give a cohabiting partner who doesn’t own the property the right to:

  • Live in the property
  • A share of the income if the property is rented out
  • A share of the profit of the sale if the property is sold


Occupation Order

In certain circumstances it is possible, as an unmarried partner, to get a court order enabling you to remain (usually temporarily) in the property. This has to be done through court proceedings.

Am I entitled to half the house if we aren’t married?

The starting point is to look at how the property is owned.

If the property is owned jointly:

If you own the property jointly then the first thing to do is to establish if it is owned as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common. This can usually be established fairly easily and cheaply by obtaining documents from the Land Registry.

Joint Tenants – If you own the property as Joint Tenants then you do not own shares in it but are considered to be joint and equal owners. Therefore, the presumption is that you each own the property equally.

Tenants in Common – If you own the property as Tenants in Common then you each own shares in the property. These shares can be owned equally, e.g. 50/50, or not, e.g. 70/30.  If you own the property in non-equal shares then this would normally be evidenced by a document called a Declaration of Trust. If there is no evidence regarding the shares then there is a presumption that you will own the property in equal shares e.g. 50/50.

In some circumstances it is possible to show that a subsequent agreement between the couple needs to be considered – for example that although on the face of it the property is owned equally there is a reason why this is not the case.

These claims are fact specific and can be difficult to establish. The onus will be upon the person trying to show that a subsequent agreement should be taken into account to demonstrate this.

If the property is owned in one person’s sole name:

If the property is owned in your partner’s sole name there may still be a document confirming that you have an interest in it.  Again, this would normally be in the form of a Declaration of Trust.

If there is no Declaration of Trust you may still be able to show that you should have an interest in the property if you can demonstrate that:

  • There was a common intention between you that you would have an interest in the property and you have acted to your detriment in reliance of this.

Or

  • You were led to believe by your partner that you had a beneficial interest and as a consequence of this you acted to their detriment.

In other words you would, in most cases, have to prove that following an injection of capital/cash into the property you did so believing that there was an agreement or understanding that this was in return for a beneficial interest in the property and therefore you expect to receive this capital back when the relationship breaks down.

Top tip:  Before buying a property together or injecting capital/cash into a property that you owned jointly with your partner (or that is held in your partner’s sole name), make sure that you have an open discussion about whether it is intended that you will acquire a beneficial interest, or an increased beneficial interest, as a result.  Always seek legal advice from an expert beforehand.

Our specialist Cohabitation Team are experts in assisting unmarried couples when a separation occurs. As we have seen in this blog, setting up property ownership in the right way can prevent disputes in the future, and protect your legal rights in case the relationship does break down in the future. Please contact us to discuss your unique circumstances.

Are you unmarried and separating from your partner?

Want to know what your property rights are?

Contact our experts

99 responses to “Property rights for unmarried couples

  1. I split up with my childrens father in May 2018. He moved out for a few months, but had to move back into our property because he got himself into debt. I would like to know if i have any legal rights to get him to move out again, or would we have to sell to get out of this uncomfortable situation.
    We were together 20 years and have 2 children together (10 and 15 years old)
    Also, if we did have to sell, what percentage of the house sale would he be entitled to? I would be the one caring for our children.

    1. Thank you for your comment Nadina. If the property is held in your sole legal name, your former partner (I assume that you are not married) has no automatic right of occupation; you could request that he move out now. If the property is held in your joint legal names, the only way to force your former partner to move out of the property would be to obtain an Occupation Order from the court. Jointly owned property can only be sold if you both agree to the sale or if you obtain an order for sale from the court. If the property was to be sold then how the net proceeds of sale are distributed depends on a number of factors including the terms of any Declaration of Trust that you both entered into either at the time of purchase of subsequent to the purchase, your respective contributions to the purchase price, mortgage repayments and/or any major renovation works undertaken to the property. The fact that you have children together who are under 18 years old, may only be relevant if you wish to claim that the property should either be transferred to you (joint ownership only) or else the sale of the property deferred to allow you to care for the children; however, such applications can be difficult and expensive to argue. I recommend that you obtain some independent legal advice from a specialist family solicitor.

  2. Hi
    I have flat on my name I live with my partner just a general question if I die my property will go to who?as I have no family in UK..my family lives in Pakistan..
    Thanks

    1. Dear Naz, thank you for query. If the property is registered in your sole name and you were to die it would pass to whomever you choose to leave it to in your Will. I would recommend that you seek advice in relation to Wills and inheritance as soon as possible.

    2. Not married got 2 property’s my partner says I’m not on deeds of one but the second one was paid fore by me has a infest ant thinking I was on fitst one which I got 16000 under market price of mum removed second one she has not paid towards it has I rented it out been together 23 years

    3. Dear Terry, thank you for your comment. It is unclear what it is you are seeking advice on. If you are concerned about your legal rights in respect of the two properties we would advise you to seek legal advice from a specialist lawyer as soon as possible.

  3. I own a property with my partner we are not married. We have a daughter together and he has another child from a previous marriage.if I die or he dies who would inherit the property we own as joint tenants.

    1. Dear Michele. Thank you for your comment. Your property shares would be inherited in accordance with your Wills and where there is no Will the intestacy rules would apply. You should seek advice from a Wills specialist who you can find via the Law Society’s website here: https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

  4. My son owns a house and his girlfriend is about to move in with him. If they split up what rights does she have over his house? I have heard that if he provides her with a rent book then she would not be entitled to a share of the house should they split up. Is this correct?

    1. Thank you for your comment. Having a ‘rent book’ would not necessarily prevent any claim by your son’s girlfriend. This is a complex area and as you will have read there are ways in which a ‘beneficial interest’ in a property can be established. Your son should seek legal advice and considering entering into a Cohabitation/Living Together Agreement with his girlfriend before she moves in. We can assist with this if he would like to get in touch.

  5. I own a property with my ex partner and have no children my ex does not contribute to the house and did not put any money down as a deposit on the house what are my legal rights to keep the property and for me to become the sole mortgage holder?

    1. Dear Tom, thank you for your question. As you will have read in the article much will depend on how you own the property. For example, if the property is owned jointly as ‘joint tenants’ then you will be considered to be joint and equal owners. Therefore, the presumption is that you each own the property equally. In some circumstances it is possible to show that a subsequent agreement between the couple needs to be considered – for example that although on the face of it the property is owned equally there is a reason why this is not the case. These claims are fact specific and can be difficult to establish. The onus will be upon you to show that a subsequent agreement should be taken into account to demonstrate this. We would recommend seeking legal advice from a specialist as soon as possible. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  6. I own a property with my ex partner as joint tenants, but now our son is 18 my ex wants money out of the property and has tried to force me to sign a Notice of Severance to convert the way we hold the property. I have refused as I do not wish to convert the percentage to 50:50 as I put up the entire capital deposit with the proceeds of the sale of a house I solely owned. I do not have a Declaration of Trust as he refused to sign it and at the time of moving I had a miscarriage and was being hurried to exchange contracts. What can I do to ensure I am awarded my capital back and that the property is not split so that he receives the same amount as me when he did not make the original investment.

    1. Thank you for your comment. As you will have read your type of case can be complex. I would suggest that you start by collating the information/documentation that you are able to. This link to one of our earlier blogs should help you with this: https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/cohabitation-and-property-unmarried-co-owners-what-documentation-should-you-collate/?mh_keyword=%2Bfamily%20%2Blaw%20%2Bpartners

      Thereafter, I would strongly advise that you seek advice from a specialist lawyer. If we can help on a formal basis please get in touch.

  7. Have been living with my partner for 15 years in her house which is her name only. We have just split up and I wondered if I am entitled to any share of the value for the time we lived there together. I have contributed to bills, upkeep etc. We have a verbal agreement that if we split up she would give me some money as a settlement but have nothing in writing apart from some texts and emails discussing it. I have read about a ‘beneficial interest’ and wonder if this applies in this case as she is talking about selling the property early next year? I have also read about a declaration of trust?

    1. Dear Bill, thank you for your comment. As you will have read your type of case can be complex. I would suggest that you start by collating the information/documentation that you are able to. This link to one of our earlier blogs should help you with this: https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/cohabitation-and-property-unmarried-co-owners-what-documentation-should-you-collate/?mh_keyword=%2Bfamily%20%2Blaw%20%2Bpartners
      Thereafter, I would strongly advise that you seek advice from a specialist lawyer. If we can help on a formal basis please get in touch.

  8. Condensed : I moved out of my property in 2004 with two boys (3 and 5) because of their abusive co-habiting father, after 5 years of living together. He refused to move out. I felt I had to move out instead. Mortgage is £230.00/month. My rent is £530.00/ month. He has insisted on paying mortgage directly into my building society, against my wishes ( believes that he can claim ownership by doing so). Did not want to move back because of fear of intimidation and have tried over the years to negotiate sale of house, but he refuses to communicate. He placed an ‘interest’ at land registry. Have not taken to court due to worry of costs and having little money. He has never volunteered child maintenance, although now owes £5,000 in arrears through CMS. He changed locks and moved another woman into house within days of my moving out. My financial situation is very difficult now and I am struggling ( I cannot claim housing benefit due to property I own).
    My question is : now that children are grown up( but still at home) what right do I have to move back into property ? And for him to move out ?

    1. Dear Eileen, thank you for your comment. We are unable to provide specific advice within this forum. Your situation is complex and I would strongly advise you seeking legal advice from a Resolution specialist to look at the options available to you. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  9. My ex partner and I joint own a flat (50/50) that we lived in together for 3 years. After we split up, he made it impossible to co-habitate during confinement due to his abusive behavior and invasion of privacy (going through my computer, phone, social media accounts, etc.). Instead of calling an abuse hotline (as I maybe should have), I moved out to protect myself. Because the property is joint owned, I still pay my half of the mortgage (as I’m legally bound), but also have to pay my new rent. I want out of this property as soon as possible as I cannot afford to be paying for a flat that I cannot even live in, but he refuses to cooperate. I want to sell, he refuses. Yet, he constantly reminds me that I must continue paying. He also has opened my mail multiple times without my permission. I want to be as civil as possible and avoid bringing up any abuse, but he’s backing me up against a wall.
    My question is: What are my rights? Am I entitled to sell my half without his agreement? Is there any way to require him to pay me “occupational rent” for the my half of the mortgage, since I am not able to live there? Thanks in advance

    1. Dear Katherine, thank you for your comment. We cannot provide specific advice within this forum. However as a joint owner there are options open to you to potentially ‘force’ a sale. We would recommend seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible,

  10. My daughter was living with her baby’s father in a house purchased in his sole name. She transferred £20’000 to his account in order for him to purchase the house. This was in the hope that they could have a future as a family. This property came with land & animals, livery which my daughter put her heart & soul into looking after financially as well as her time, while being a new first time mum. Her partner continued to work away each week spending minimal time with her & baby. He also has regular access to two children from a former relationship in the mix. She paid for all things for baby, food shopping, Skye tv, and many other extras. He paid mortgage & utility bills. He has not in any way contributed financially to the baby since the day he was born. He has also accused her of living in ‘his’ house rent free for two years!
    He has a well paid senior management job & other sideline businesses. He is also 20 years her senior.

    Their ‘relationship’ broke down within the first year and she finally moved out in July, having lived there for two years under duress. Daughter & grandson are now living with us Now while she tries to sort herself out. She is working nights to try to support herself & her son. He has contributed nothing so far financially. He continues to reside in the house that she helped to pay for. He is refusing to give her back her investment (“it wasn’t try before you buy”). Also He has made minimal effort to see the baby, blaming her for everything.
    Unfortunately for her, no legal document was made around her investment.
    Do you think she has any chance at all of getting this money back?

    1. Dear Sharon, thank you for your comment. We cannot provide specific advice within this forum. We would recommend your daughter seekS urgent advice from a Resolution lawyer to consider the options that may be available to her. In the meantime your daughter should contact the Child Maintenance Service so that an assessment can be undertaken in respect of child maintenance. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  11. I have lived in my partners house for 15 years. She is now in a care home. Will her house have to be sold to pay her fees or am I entitled to stay there?

    1. Dear Mike, thank you for your comment. We are unable to assist you with your query, at this stage, but would recommend that in the first instance you speak to a lawyer who specialises in assets being used to meet care home fees. A lawyer who specialises in Welfare Benefits or Private Client work (e.g. Wills etc) should be able to assist.

  12. Hi. I lived with my abusive ex for 4 years in a home he owns which he bought a year previous to us being together. When I moved in the property needed work doing to it. Since moving in I paid for work to be done, paid for council tax, and some other bills and would pay for all the food which food alone would be more than the mortgage a month. We have 2 children together also. He said after we split I could have the house but I was too emotional to be there. After doing the work to the property it has added value to it. I was wondering if I had a claim for the property if it were to be sold?

    1. Dear Marie, thank you for your comment. We are unable to provide specific advice within this forum. As you will have read if you are able to prove that following an injection of capital/cash into the property you did so believing that there was an agreement or understanding that this was in return for a beneficial interest in the property (and therefore you expected to receive this capital back when the relationship broke down) then you may be successful. However, these types of cases are complex and will be very fact specific. As such I would recommend you seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible as to what your options may be.

  13. Hi me and my ex partner moved in to a property together in 1999 but she couldn’t get credit so i got the mortgage jn my name only we then had a child who is now 19 years old. We split up in 2017 and she said she didn’t want any claim on the property because our son stayed liviing with me My son has now moved in with his mother but i am now worried thar she will make a claim against the property what rights does she have?

    1. Dear Scott, thank you for your comment. You didn’t say whether you purchased the property in joint names or whether the property is owned solely by you. This will be relevant as to the options available to your former partner. As you will have read, if the property is not owned jointly or where there is no Declaration of Trust, your former partner would need to prove that she had an interest in the property and she may be successful if she is able to demonstrate that there was a common intention between you that she would have an interest in the property and she has acted to her detriment in reliance of this or she was led to believe by you that she had a beneficial interest in the property and as a consequence of this she acted to her detriment. In other words she would have to prove that following an injection of capital/cash into the property she did so believing that there was an agreement or understanding that this was in return for a beneficial interest in the property and therefore she expected to receive this capital back if the relationship broke down. You may also find these articles helpful:

      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/

      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/financial-rights-for-unmarried-parents/

  14. Hello, as an unmarried couple we are buying a property as tenants in common. We are both approaching the latter quarter of our lives. What happens if my partner passes away, and has put his children in the will for his estate? Do I have the right to keep on living in the property on my own until I also die? Or if not, what could we do to ensure that either of us can do so, and can this still be overturned by the inheritors (children)?

    1. Dear Karen, thank you for your questions. These issues are best dealt with in your Wills and you should seek advice from a Wills expert as to what your options are. You may also wish to consider entering into a Cohabitation/Living Together Agreement to make clear what your intentions are in the event that you separate or one of you dies. You may find these articles helpful:
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/unmarried-couples-what-happens-if-one-partner-dies-when-there-is-no-will-in-place/
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/we-are-getting-asked-more-about-cohabitation-agreements-by-couples-who-are-moving-in-together/

  15. My partner and I are about to sign for a house. My partner is putting 30k deposit down therefore signing a declaration of trust to protect this. This means we will be tenants in common. My name is also on the house we will pay 50/50 mortgage.

    My partner has two children from a previous relationship who stay with us 3 nights a week. If we were to split up and I wanted to sell the house, would he be elidgable to stay due to having children? Or would he either be made to buy me out or sell too?

    We are not married.

    My fear is that if our relationship were to break down he would be able to stay in the house until the children are 18, and I would be stuck on the mortgage till then and can not get off it?

    Thanks for your help

    1. Dear Claudia, thank you for your comment. We would recommend entering into a Cohabitation/Living Together Agreement as well as the Declaration of Trust so as to ensure that you are in agreement as to what would happen to the property in the event that you do separate. Given that the children do you not live with your partner on a full time basis it is unlikely that a court would order that the property should not be sold particularly if there is a Declaration of Trust and a Cohabitation Agreement in place which states that it would be sold on separation. If your partner refused to sell you would need to obtain an Order for Sale from the court. If we can assist in relation to the Cohabitation/Living Together Agreement please get in touch.

  16. My partner has a property on his name it was my family home I have 3 kids to him. He moved me and the kids out because his parents had issues with me. And he’s also now put his mum and dad on the trust of deeds. Can I still register my interest in the property.

    1. Dear Aisha. Thank you for your comment. As you will have read these matters can be very complicated and are not straightforward. We are unable to provide specific advice within this forum. We would recommend seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible who will be able to provide details of the options available to you, if any.

  17. My ex partner and I (we were not married) purchased a property as joint tenants. My ex paid the mortgage and I paid the utility bills and all expenses for our child. Since our separation he has moved out and is now stating that he should have 100% ownership of the house. Am I entitled to 50% ownership of the property even though I did not make contributions to the mortgage, which has now been fully paid.

    1. Dear Anne, thank you for your comment. As you will have read if the property is owned jointly as joint tenants then you are considered to be joint and equal owners. Therefore, the presumption is that you each own the property equally.

  18. Bought a house with partner 3 years ago, both on the mortgage- nothing else documented. She put in 106k deposit which we have both agreed she gets back. We both paid the mortgage equally, we then split and I moved out to allow her to stay in the house with our child- joint decision. I continued to pay half the mortgage and child maintenance, while paying for a new rent for 6months after moving out. I then asked to sell the house as I couldn’t afford to keep paying half the mortgage as well as my accommodation costs- she said she didn’t want to move and that she could cover most of the mortgage on her own so I reduced my mortgage contributions to £150 and continued to pay child maintenance. Issue is now we are selling she is rug using a 50:50 split of profits stating I did not contribute 50:50 towards the Mortgage..
    please any advise would be much appreciated.

    1. Dear Andrew, thank you for your comment. As you will have read much will depend on how you own the property, what documentation there is and what agreements are in place. I have assumed from the information that you have provided that you own the property jointly. What isn’t clear is whether you own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common in unequal shares (to take account of the deposit). This will be relevant as to the options available to you and your former partner. I would recommend you seek advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch. In the meantime you may find these articles helpful:

      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/

      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/financial-rights-for-unmarried-parents/

  19. Dear Sir/Madam

    I was wondering if you could help me out, I am married religious but not civil by the state, could me and my partner split 50/50 on the property i bought, in case the relationship doesn’t work out or do i need seek legal advice.

    1. Dear Zaki, thank you for your comment. We would need to understand a lot more about your situation to be able to assist further. We would recommend you seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer so that you understand the options available to you and ensure that the advice is specific to your circumstances. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  20. After 40 years in my council home I built up the full discount .I then bought the house with my now ex partner after 18months .we signed a tenants in comman .has he rights to my discount

    1. Dear Beverley, thank you for your comment. I note that you make reference to having purchased the property as ‘tenants in common’. Ordinarily, if you purchase as tenants in common we would expect to see something which sets out the shares you each own in the property. If you own it in an unequal shares then this would be usually be evidenced by a Declaration of Trust document. If there is no evidence that you own the property in unequal shares there will be a presumption that you own it in equal shares e.g. 50/50. To take account of your ‘discount’ you would need to prove that you had a greater interest in the property and you may be successful if you are able to demonstrate that there was a common intention between you that you would have a greater interest in the property and that you have acted to your detriment in reliance of this. In other words, you would have to prove that you used your discount in return for a greater interest in the property and as such, you expected to receive this capital back if the relationship broke down. I would recommend you seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible.

  21. A relation of mine, let’s call him John, has long been the sole outright (mortgage-free) owner of a house. His partner, “Jane”, moved in with him in 1995 and that year they had their first child, and a second five years later. The relationship ended in 2002 and John agreed to move out, leaving Jane and the children to live in his house rent-free. At some point an informal verbal agreement was reached that when the property was eventually sold Jane would get half the proceeds so she would not be homeless. Since John moved out, Jane has paid for some minor improvements to the property – a loft conversion and new kitchen. Jane earned rent from lodgers over the years, none of which was given to John (he did not ask for any of this income). John has no intention of reneging on his verbal agreement but as a point of reference, what are Jane’s legal entititlements to the proceeds of the eventual sale of the property? (The verbal agreement does not seem to meet the criteria of a contract, not least because there was no “exchange of value” and no expressed intent to enter into a legally binding contract”. ) Thank you.

    1. Dear Tony. Thank you for your comment. We are unable to provide specific advice within this forum and the circumstances you describe are complex. We would recommend that ‘John’ seeks legal advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible. If we are able to assist on a formal basis then please ask ‘John’ to contact us.

  22. My partner and I are joint tenants of a house that we bought together and have lived in for 11 years. He also owns a flat in his sole name, which I have contributed towards the mortgage for those 11 years. We are now in the process of splitting up. I am I entitled to a share in the value of the flat seeing as I helped pay the mortgage on it?

    1. Dear Anne, thank you for your comment. We are unable to provide specific advice within this forum. As you will have read if you are able to prove that following an injection of capital/cash into the property you did so believing that there was an agreement or understanding that this was in return for a beneficial interest in the property (and therefore you expected to receive this capital back when the relationship broke down) then you may be successful. However, these types of cases are complex and will be very fact specific. As such I would recommend you seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible as to what your options may be.

  23. Hello! My partner and I are joint tenants of a house that we bought together and have lived in for 11 years. He also owns a flat in his sole name, which I have contributed towards the mortgage of for those 11 years. We are now in the process of splitting up. Am I entitled to a share in the value of the flat seeing as I have helped pay the mortgage on it?

  24. My partner moved in with me a year ago, I have no mortgage. We are now moving and I am paying for the property in full. Just wondering if she will have any rights on the property if we was to split up?

    1. Dear Lee, thank you for your comment. It will be important to ensure that the property is purchased in your sole name only. This is a complex area and as you will have read there are ways in which a ‘beneficial interest’ in a property can be established. You should seek legal advice and considering entering into a Cohabitation/Living Together Agreement before you move in together. We can assist with this if you would like to get in touch. You can read a little more about cohabitation agreements her: https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/we-are-getting-asked-more-about-cohabitation-agreements-by-couples-who-are-moving-in-together/

  25. I own a property that is solely in my name and my unmarried partner lives with me in it with our children. If I leave the house until the children are grown up but continue to pay all expenses and maintenance costs would she be able to transfer the house into her name?

    1. Dear Jeff, thank you for your comment. If the property is in your sole name your partner would not be able to transfer the property into her name without your consent or knowledge. In order to minimise any claims your partner may have either now or in the future you should seek advice from a Resolution lawyer. We would recommend that any agreement is incorporated into a legally binding document. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  26. I have lived with my partner for 9years in that time I have split the bills paying into her bank my name isn’t on mortgage but I have worked hard to get the house refurbished and done all the work to it she done some but I am a mutli trade and employed as this the house was just about finished and she said i had to leave we were over proof of work i done is pictures and bank transfers of money she is sole owner of house and remortgage when we were together she took care of all things like that as she is an accountant do i have any right to anything thanks for your help

    1. Dear Tommy, thank you for your comment. As you will have read these issues can be very complex. If you are able to prove that following an injection of capital/cash into the property you did so believing that there was an agreement or understanding that this was in return for a beneficial interest in the property (and therefore you expected to receive this capital back when the relationship broke down) then you may be successful. However, these types of cases are complex and will be very fact specific. As such I would recommend you seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible as to what your options may be.

  27. Me and my 6 year old son are looking to get a house with my boyfriend, he’s going to sell his current house to pay for our new house, as I haven’t contributed the same amount as he has towards the mortgage and it will be in his name he wants me
    To sign a cohabitation, I’m scared that may leave me and my son homeless if we ever split and I could potentially have another child with him in all of this, would I have any rights or would I be left homeless with the kids?

    1. Dear Nina, thank you for your comment. Before entering into a cohabitation agreement it will be important to get your own legal advice. The terms of the document should be agreed between you before it is signed and therefore you will have an opportunity to deal with the concerns that you have raised. As you will have read property rights between unmarried couples can be complex and so it is very important that you seek advice from a Resolution lawyer before you move in together. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  28. I am getting engaged to my partner. At this moment in time we have plans to marry yet.
    As we both own our own property I would like to know if her children have any claim to my property and my children to her property

    1. Dear Ian, thank you for your comment. Your respective children do not have any automatic claims against your properties. However, marriage brings about certain legal issues that you should get advice on before getting married. We would certainly recommend that you consider entering into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement so that you can both protect your properties in the future. If you are currently living together or are about to move in together you should also consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement.

      You can read about Cohabitation Agreements here: https://1gu3xt3qq8id2mr6f51sklsr-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Cohabitation__Living_Together_Agreements.pdf and

      Pre-Nuptial Agreements here: https://1gu3xt3qq8id2mr6f51sklsr-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FLP_Factsheet_-_Prenuptial_Agreements.pdf

      You should also ensure your Wills are up to date.

  29. My partner and I own a house. We have 4 children all under 16 years old and I am currently awaiting to be sentenced in court for 1 charge of section 39 common assault during a domestic argument we had. I am not allowed to indirectly or directly contact my partner however if she decides she wants to separate and I believe this is the case. She has already changed almost all the bills into her name, created a new bank account and deposited a fairly large amount into it . I am happy to assist her and want her to be secure. ut it seems sensible to ask what rights do I or we have on the property both occupancy and or the ownership?

    1. Dear Simon, thank you for your comment. As you will have read as a joint owner of the property you do have a right of occupancy unless there is an order in place preventing you from doing so. It appears there is an order or bail in place which is preventing you from contacting your partner either directly or indirectly and therefore you should not seek to move back into the property. However, this does not dismiss your financial interest or ownership of the property. We would recommend you seeking advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible so that you can discuss the options that are available to you.

  30. hello,

    I am a named person on the mortgage i have with my partner we also have a child who is two, i haven’t paid money towards the mortgage deposit but i have looked after the house and maintained it, looked after our child and also bought items for the house from food to accessories.
    Our relationship is broken down and we are looking at separating he is wanting to stay in the house so me and our child move out, he does not want to sell but where does this leave me with the mortgage and do we need to look at getting this spilt 50/50 as currently he feels i am not entitled to anything or could just do a small pay ff for me which doesnt make up much of the money in the house?
    Thanks

    1. Dear Georgina, thank you for your comment. As you will have read you may have an interest in the property and given that you have a child together there may be other options available to you. We would recommend that you do not move out or agree to anything until you have received advice from a Resolution lawyer.

  31. I bought a house in 2015 with mortgage in manchester as a sole owner, met partner and she cohabited in 2016 with me for 18 months (first 9 months majority at her mom’s in kent, then our child was born, partner cohabited with me for the other 9 months in my house before seperation. Can she make any kind of claim on behalf of my daughter?

    1. Dear Charlie, thank you for your comment. We cannot provide advice on specific circumstances and without knowing more detail as to the background and the current circumstances of you and your former partner and daughter. We would recommend that you seek advice from a Resolution lawyer so that they can provide advice as to any potential claims your former partner may be able to pursue.

  32. Hi Lisa
    My partner and I are ‘tenants in common – 50/50’ since buying in Feb 2018. We have split up and she is living in the property with me. She has made no financial contributions since leaving her job 2.4 years ago and made none towards the deposit – only nominal amounts over the fist 6 months of the mortgage. I would like to keep on the house and live here alone. Would she be entitled to half of any profit?

    1. Dear Alan, thank you for your comment. I note that you make reference to having purchased the property as 50/50 ‘tenants in common’ which means the presumption is that you and your partner own the property equally regardless of your unequal financial contributions. In some circumstances it is possible to show that a subsequent agreement between the couple needs to be considered – for example that although on the face of it the property is owned equally there is a reason why this is not the case. These claims are fact specific and can be difficult to establish. The onus will be upon you to show that a subsequent agreement should be taken into account to demonstrate this. We would recommend seeking legal advice from a specialist as soon as possible. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  33. My brother is currently in hospital . He has been living with his partner for approximately 20 years but she unfortunately died 2 years ago. she had written in her will that he would keep the property until his death then it would go to her two sons, however now he is in hospital they are saying they do not want him back in the house and he has no legal rights although he has being paying the bills since her death. I wonder if anyone can tell me if this is legal or not? Many thanks in advance.

    1. Dear Mick, thank you for your comment. I am sure this must be a very worrying time for you and your brother. Given that your brother’s partner died 2 years ago and provided for him to remain living at the property your brother will need to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in General Litigation/Property Disputes. You will be able to a suitable lawyer by searching The Law Society’s web site here: https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/?Pro=True

  34. My partner and I bought our house jointly 19 years ago. The mortgage was based on just his income as I was not working after having a baby but the house is in both names. He paid the mortgage, council tax and the two main utilities and I pay the water bill, buy all the food and other things. We are considering separation and he is adamant that I am not entitled to a penny from the house because of what he has paid compared to me.
    Is he right ? It’s getting me down that he tells me I have nothing

    1. Dear Chris, thank you for your comment. I note that you make reference to the property being jointly owned although it is unclear whether this is as joint tenants or tenants in common. If the property has been purchased as joint tenants then the presumption is that you and your partner own the property equally regardless of your unequal financial contributions. In some circumstances it is possible to show that a subsequent agreement between a couple needs to be considered – for example that although on the face of it the property is owned equally there is a reason why this is not the case. These claims are fact specific and can be difficult to establish. The onus will be upon your partner to show that a subsequent agreement should be taken into account. We would recommend seeking legal advice from a specialist as soon as possible. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  35. I have just bought a house for myself, my partner and her children. I paid for the property and pay all the bills, but we are tenants in common.. However just 1 month after the purchase I feel that I have been used as a cash cow. She contributes nothing to the house and does not work. I take it I have lost half of the money I put into the property should things come to an end?

    1. Dear Dai, thank you for your comment. It is possible to enter into a Declaration of Trust and or Cohabitation Agreement after the property has been purchased. However, this will require agreement from your partner. I would recommend seeking advice, as soon as possible, from a Resolution lawyer so that you can discuss the options available to you. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  36. Hi, my partner(not married) split up 2 years ago after 11 years together.
    I owned the house(paying a mortgage) when we met. When he moved in with me he went on the mortgage.

    Now we have separated i am paying the mortgage and bills solely, he makes no contribution.

    I now want him off the mortgage. What can he claim?.

    1. Dear Rebecca, thank you for your comment. Much will depend on how the property is owned. You have mentioned that your partner went onto the mortgage and I therefore assume he also became a joint owner of the property at that point. If the property is owned jointly and in the absence of any express agreement with regard to the shares in which you each own the property, then the presumption is that you and your partner own the property equally regardless of your unequal financial contributions.

      In some circumstances it is possible to show that a subsequent agreement between a couple needs to be considered – for example that although on the face of it the property is owned equally there is a reason why this is not the case . These claims are fact specific and can be difficult to establish. We would recommend seeking legal advice from a specialist as soon as possible. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  37. Iv being living with my partner for 14 years . the bills are joint both name but hes the sole name on mortgages. And hes just die suddenly .do i have any right to stay in my home .

    1. Dear Tina. Thank you for your comment. I am so sorry to hear of your partner’s death. Much will depend on whether the property is in your joint names and if it isn’t he may have dealt with this scenario in his Will. If there is no Will you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. You will need to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in these types of claim. The Law Society will help you find a lawyer who can assist: https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

  38. Hi,
    I have separated from my partner (not married) and we own our property as joint tenants.
    He has moved out and we need to sort the mortgage out. He is saying we have 2 options, the first being to sell the house and split the proceeds, second option is i buy him out.

    He is asking for 50k, and won’t budge, i cannot afford that much (bank won’t lend me that much to pay him off) and am worried that he will go to court to force the sale of the house and will then end up with half. Can he do this?

    Thanks

    Can he do this

    1. Dear Tina. As a joint owner your partner has the option to seek an order from the court to force the sale if you are unable to reach an agreement. We would strongly recommend inviting your partner to Mediation with a view to considering the options and hopefully reaching an amicable agreement without the need to involve the court.

  39. My ex-partner and I (unmarried) split up a year ago after 8 years together, 4 of which we have spent living in our home which we own as beneficial tenants in common. We have always paid everything 50-50, although he made a slightly higher contribution to the deposit. We have talked about the future and were in no hurry to sell the house. My ex has always said he considered the house to be more my home that his. He is now involved in a woman from our friendship group and has been staying at her house for the last few months. Shew rents with another member of our friendship group. I have noticed a change is her attitude towards me since she started seeing my ex. Last night my ex came to our house and told me that his dad was putting pressure on him to sort his money out and that he came into the house with £10,000 and should come out of it with £10,000. He told my ex that I can buy him out and all my ex has to do is give me 6 months notice to either give him £10,000 or he will sell the house from under me to raise his £10,000 back. Can he really do this?

    1. Dear Sam, thank you for your comment. If the property is legally owned by you and you former partner in joint names then either of you has the option of seeking an order for the sale of the property through the court. Again, if you are joint owners of the property it would be extremely difficult for your former partner to ‘sell the house from under you’ as both owners are required to sign the relevant paperwork. We would strongly recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that you understand your legal position as an owner and also to consider the options that are available to you to resolving this matter.

  40. Hi, my partner lived with me in my rented home for 2.5yrs the tenancy is soley in my name he did some work on my garden we have since split up now hes claiming money through solicitors letters for the work he did and cost although he took it upon himself to do this there was no agreement his letter stated he would take me to small claims court if i didn’t pay. do I have to pay him ?

    1. Dear Andrea, thank you for your comment. Our view is that it appears unlikely that your former partner would have a case. However, without knowing the basis of the claim and all the facts it is impossible to know with certainty. We would recommend seeking advice from a lawyer who deals with civil litigation matters as this is unlikely to fall within the family law arena. You will be able to find a suitable lawyer in your area via the Law Society’s web site. https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

  41. Hi so me and my partner are splitting, he wants to sell our family home I do not as we have a 3 year old son who is settled, it is next to his school and family. We both jointly own the property 50 / 50. What legal right do I have ? I do not wish to move I want a stable family home for my son but I do not have the money to buy him out ..I can afford to live here with my son , I work part time and have my little boy on my days off

    1. Thank you for your comment. As a joint owner of the property you have a legal right to occupy the property, as does your partner. Jointly owned property can only be sold if you both agree to a sale or if your former partner obtains an order for sale from the court. The fact that you have a child together who is under 18 years old, may only be relevant if you wish to claim that the property should either be transferred to you (joint ownership only) or else the sale of the property is deferred to allow you to care for your son. However, such applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act can be difficult and expensive to argue. I recommend that you obtain some independent legal advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible.

      If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch. You may also find these articles helpful:

      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/

  42. Hi
    My partner and I have lived in my house (all in my name, I pay the mortgage, he pays the council tax) since 2015. We are currently in the process of moving. The new house will also be in my name and I will be paying some of the mortgage, with my partner contributing the rest. He is not named on the new mortgage as it would have been even more per month due to his previous financial history (his ex-wife bled him dry and would still do so given half a chance, even though she was at fault and they divorced as a result of that). My partner has received a form from my new mortgage provider to say he has no claim on the house if we split up. To say he is not pleased about this is an understatement. His elderly mother is not in the best of health and we had discussed that if there is any money from her estate, we would pay a chunk of the mortgage off, which seemed sensible to us both. Is there any document that could be drawn up to say that if we split up, he would get the money back he had put into the house? We would obviously sell the house if we did split as i couldn’t afford the mortgage on my own.

    1. Dear Ailsa, thank you for your query. We would recommend that you and your partner enter into a Declaration of Trust which would record the financial arrangements between you and specifically deal with your respective interests in the property. A Declaration of Trust will ensure there is certainty and, hopefully, avoid disputes as to what you are both entitled to in the future. The document should always be drawn up by a solicitor and would normally be signed at the same that the property is purchased. They are particularly useful if one person puts a larger deposit in or one party pays more of the mortgage, for example.

      The Declaration of Trust and legal ownership of the property is recorded against the property register at the Land Registry. Your conveyancing solicitor should be able to assist you with this. As well as a Declaration of Trust you should consider entering into a Cohabitation agreement (also known as a Living Together Agreement). A cohabitation agreement can support the Declaration of Trust by reiterating the different amounts that may have been contributed to the purchase and how they might be repaid at a later when the house is sold. Importantly it can also deal with other important issues such as who will pay for what going forward.

      You may find this article helpful: https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/we-are-getting-asked-more-about-cohabitation-agreements-by-couples-who-are-moving-in-together/

      Please get in touch if we can assist on a formal basis.

  43. Hi sold a property with my partner (not married nor any kids the profit was sent to my account by solicitors both signed that’s fine. Bought another one and looking to separate does my ex partner have any rights to the money as I am looking to buy another house solely in my name and can she take any of the new property I will be purchasing with that money I will be leaving her the new house and signed over to her many thanks

    1. Dear Geoff, thank you for your comment. As you will have read these types of scenarios can be complex and without knowing more about the background to your circumstances we are unable to provide advice. We would strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  44. Hi, I have separated from my ex (not married) and i am buying him out as we own the house as joint tenants and are both on the mortgage. We have agreed a buyout figure and i have been approved by the bank/mortgage company that i can borrow the money. The process has started and will hopefully be completed within the next 4-6 weeks to have him removed from the mortgage and the deeds.

    My question is this – once this is all completed will he at some point in the future be able to come back and make another/further claim against the property?. I only ask as my Dad brought it up and was worried that he may come back and ask for more money. I can’t find anything online, i would assume once it’s done it’s done but now he’s got me worried.

    Many thanks
    Sarah

    1. Dear Sarah, thank you for your comment. We would recommend that any agreement you reach with your former partner is recorded in writing and signed by you both. The agreement should be drawn up by a lawyer so as to ensure you are protected going forward and avoid any future claims. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  45. Hi, I have lived with my partner for a few years, it’s my own house my name in soley on the mortgage and I’ve paid all the bills. I’ve recently split with my partner and hes moved out, hes has taken everything out the house as he paid for those items, but now says he’s going to go for half the house, does he have any rights? We aren’t married. He’s never paid into the actual house just contents which he’s taken. We have two children and split the custody I pay maintenance for them. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your comment. As you will have read these situations can be complex and without knowing more about the background and current circumstances it is difficult for us to advise. Your former partner would need to prove that there was a common intention between you that he would have an interest in the property and he has ‘acted to his detriment’ in reliance of this or that he was led to believe by you that he had a beneficial interest in the property and as a consequence of this he acted to his detriment.

      In other words he would have to prove that following an injection of capital/cash into the property he did so believing that there was an agreement or understanding that this was in return for a beneficial interest in the property and therefore he expects to receive this capital back now that the relationship breaks down. The fact that you have children together who are under 18 years old and where you are sharing their care may be relevant as potentially your former partner may be able to make a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, for example, for a sum of money which can be used by him to purchase a property to meet the housing needs of the children – this would normally then revert back to you when the youngest child reaches 18.
      However, such applications are very difficult and expensive to argue and generally will only succeed where there are sufficient funds to meet the housing needs of both of you and the children. I recommend that you obtain some independent legal advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible.

      If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch. You may also find these articles helpful:
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/unmarried-parents-legal-rights-part-two/

  46. Hi, I jointly own my property with my wife as joint tenants. my wife paid the deposit for the house, and the bills while i paid the mortgage.
    we are splitting and going through the process of financial discussions through mediation.
    My wife is claiming she is entitled to her deposit back. is this correct?

    1. Dear Tom, thank you for your comment. As you are married the way in which the property may be treated/divided is different to the law in relation to property owned by unmarried couples. Whether your wife should receive her deposit back will depend on a number of factors.

      You may find these articles helpful:
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/length-marriage-divorce/
      https://1gu3xt3qq8id2mr6f51sklsr-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Settling_financial_issues_following_divorce.pdf

      We would recommend that you seek advice from a Resolution lawyer alongside the mediation process. If we can assist please get in touch.

  47. I separated from ex partner 11+ years ago we were not married. We have a child together aged 13. We separated due to domestic violence and harassment. I had a occupancy order to remain in house. He lived in houses for 2 years only and we paid half each deposit. He has not paid a penny towards mortgage since sept 2010. He severed joint tenancy. Do I still have to pay 50/50 equity if I come to sell?

    1. Dear Rebecca, thank you for your comment. As you will have read it will depend on you own the property. From what you have said it appears that you owned the property jointly, originally as joint tenants but are now tenants in common. The presumption is therefore that you and your former partner own the property equally regardless of your unequal financial contributions or the Occupation Order. In some circumstances it is possible to show that a subsequent agreement between a couple needs to be considered – for example that although on the face of it the property is owned equally there is a reason why this is not the case . These claims are fact specific and can be difficult to establish. The fact that you have a child together who is under 18 years old, may be relevant if you wish to claim that the property should either be transferred to you or else the sale of the property is deferred to allow you to care for your child. However, such applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act can be difficult and expensive to argue. I recommend that you obtain some independent legal advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible.

      If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch. You may also find these articles helpful:

      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/
      https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/separation-rights-for-cohabiting-couples/

  48. I rented a property with my partner, but the contract was in my name. I paid for the rent and the deposit requested aswel. I recently moved out due to issues going on in the relationship and my partner said she still want to be there so I called the landlord and informed him I have let and she is happy to take the property so I will need my deposit back.
    The landlord informed me he has spoken to her and can confirm she is happy to stay in the property, so name on contract will be changed to her name.
    I asked the landlord to pay me back my deposit but he said he can’t pay since we came together as partner eventhough the contract was in my name.
    I told him I will give him 3 months and come for me deposit as I cannot pay a deposit on a property were my name is not on a contract just because we came together.
    Is this right and is he supposed to pay my deposit back to me as my name is no more on the contract.

    1. Dear Desmond, thank you for your comment. This issue does not come under the family law remit. We would recommend that you seek advice from a Civil Litigation lawyer. You will be able to find someone suitable in your area via the Law Society’s website: https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

  49. My son and his partner are splitting up. The property is in joint names. They have amicably agreed that my son will stay in the property and will buy out the other party and solely take over the mortgage payments. Does the transfer of the property from joint names to a single name require solicitor involvement ?

    1. Dear Carl, thank you for your comment. Your son and his partner will need a conveyancing lawyer to assist them in transferring the property and mortgage. We would also recommend that the agreement reached between them is drawn up in a Separation Agreement which should be prepared by a family lawyer. If we can assist on a formal basis please ask your son to contact us.

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