My wife and I are drawing up a seperation agreement however we have hit a snag the house. It is rented property and I am the sole name on the the agreement as I was a single parent when we met. She was in severe rent arrears with her old property so she give it back and i paid off her arrears over time. We have one child between us. I have been told that if I sign the tenancy over to her I am intentionally making my self homeless and the council have no obligation to help me. But they are obliged to help her if she feels it is not possible to stay under the same roof as me. (which it isnt things are getting unbearable for both of us) any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
The first thing I need to know is what type of tenancy you have ; assured shorthold, assured, secure, regulated or what ?
Also I need to know if you live in Scotland, Wales or England as the rules are slightly different. But am I correct in thinking that you have a child of your own ( in addition to the child you had with your partner ) ?
' Intentional homelessness ' is an expression which has a very precise definition ; it means (i) an intentional act or omission (ii) that is the cause of the loss of accommodation (iii) but for the act or omission you could have continued to occupy the accommodation and (iv) it would have been reasonable for you to continue to occupy the accommodation.
If you can give me an answer to these questions, I should be able to offer some general guidance.
I think the first question you would need to ask, if you were thinking of a voluntary transfer of the house to your wife, is : what does your tenancy agreement have to say about this ? Does it say that you have to get the landlord's consent ? And would the consent be forthcoming if it were applied for ?
I am thinking that your wife has a record of arrears and the landlord might not be keen to have her as a sole tenant. The point is that if you transfer the tenancy without consent, it might give the landlord grounds for applying for possession on the grounds of breach of the tenancy agreement. It depends on how the agreement is worded.
The next point is this : When it comes to homelessness law, the most important concept is priority need. Without priority need, your only rights are to advice and assistance. Your problem seems me not intentional homelessness, but that if you apply for accommodation, it is not clear to me how you could establish a priority need. Your wife has a priority need if she has dependent children. But you haven't. That doesn't necessarily mean the council won't help, but the housing you might be offered might be classified as hard to let and perhaps not particularly salubrious.
I have to say that my advice to people seeking accommodation - even if they have a priority need - is that they should make their own enquiries and try to get accommodation on their own account ; it may well be better than what the Council could offer. In any event I would suggest you try a specialist agency like Shelter. They will know the situation in your area far better than I would, and may be able to make some useful suggestions.
Thanks Mike I dont think a voluntary transfer is likely so I shall be staying put and let her decide what she intends to do I lived rough before and will not intentionally put myself there again at the same time I will not throw her (metaphoricaly) out on the street so it looks like I will have to wait for her to find somewhere else of her own accord