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unmarried what house rights

  • celeste
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07 Nov 07 #6080 by celeste
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Not actually married, but been with ex for 12 + years, he's eager to sell house all in his name (though i contributed for last 4 years and put all depoist down on house) we have two kids, worried that i'm going to be homeless and dont know my rights.

  • OBEs 1 canoodly
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07 Nov 07 #6082 by OBEs 1 canoodly
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Hi Celeste

If you have been together for 12 years I would say you have the right to register an interest against the property. You can probably download a form from the land registry site. This will protect you as it will stop him from selling the property from under you.

I am sure this advice is correct but look on the land registry site first and if you are still not sure go and get a half hour free advice from a local solicitor or even Citizens advice Bureau thats what they are there for! In fact if you see them first they may even have a legal evening that you could go along to.

The kids welfare is paramount regardless of whether married or unmarried and I feel this would still be taken into consideration if it went to court.

Although unmarried don't have same rights as married it is still possible for a partner to claim rights to a home even after just 6 months if my memory serves me well!

My mum lived with a guy for 10 years, his home. We sought legal advice and managed to get £10k compensation from him when he did the dirty on her and asked her to leave!!! I'm talking 28 years ago this happened so I'm sure things have progressed more in that time!!

Good luck


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  • celeste
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31 Mar 08 #18168 by celeste
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Thank you , Registered property. Just waiting now, he wants to sell house as soon as possible. This Scares me, I can't get mortgage. Where does this leave me now?

  • rubytuesday
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28 Jun 08 #29390 by rubytuesday
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Hi Celeste

Ive just found your post, otherwise I would have replied sooner.

I know from my own experience that splitting up with a long term partner is traumatic and emotional,and is a legal minefield, as the rights of co-habitees are almost non-existent in the UK.

Without any further details, it is difficult to answer your question fully. Prehaps you could let us know who paid the mortgage, whether you are in Scotland, England or Wales, etc.

I have given some basic information below (applies to England):-

As far as the house is concerned - On the face of it, you own the home in the shares that were specified when you bought the property. If you did not specify unequal shares, the law will treat you as owning it 50:50.
If a 50:50 split is not fair because of what you have both contributed, you can either negotiate a deal or take the issue to court. You would usually have to show that you had an agreement, whether written or simply understood, that you did not have equal shares and that you had
contributed unequally along the lines of this agreement. To get the jointly-owned house into your sole name,you wouldn need to "buy out" your partner. If there are children a court can order a transfer of the tenancy to a parent on behalf of the children under the Children Act 1989. This would typically happen to keep the children housed.
In practice this does not mean that you get a larger share of the home, but you may get the right to remain in it while it is the home for the children - until they reach 18 or leave full time education.
You can only sell the home if both owners agree to it. This often causes problems if one of you wants to stay in the house and can’t offer a fair price to buy the other’s
share. You can take the issue to court, but this is time consuming, costly, and stressful. Although the house is in the sole name of your former partner, now that you have registered your interest in it with the LR, it will make it far more difficult for him to simply sell the house without your knowledge or consent.

As for a finacial settlement - when couples that were living together break up neither partner is en­­title­­d to any maintenance from the other, and the court can’t order a transfer of savings or property that were owned by one of you (if it was always treated that way and the other one did not contribute towards it). However, if you both thought that such a transfer would be fair, you could make a voluntary agreement.

When you come to any sort of agreement between yourselves it is useful to write it down, including specifics like the amount and dates of any agreed payments, in case there is any dispute later on. If you have agreed to transfer property from one person to another you should consult a solicitor.
If you are unable to come to an agreement about financial issues you could take the matter to court, but this is likely to be a very drawn out and expensive business. You should only consider this as a last resort. You may want to consider using a mediation service to help you arrive at a fair settlement instead.

I hope this helps, and Im sorry its not going to be straightfoward for you - the rights of co-habitees needs a good shake up in the UK!

Get yourself down the CAB as soon as is possible, if you havent already done so.
If you feel like a moan, orjust wantsome company, pop into the chatroom - you will be made very welcome.

Take care, and keep posting


  • D L
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30 Jun 08 #29705 by D L
Reply from D L

Everything Ruby has posted is quite correct. In conjunction with that you have an action under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, which can give you the right to live in the house until the children are 18 or finish their full time education.

If you have to go down the court route you need to file both applications (they have different forms, procedures etc), and the court will consolidated them and look at them together.

So under the first action (that Ruby describes) the court will determine the legal shares, and then under the Children Act the court will consider if it is right and fair that you have full use of the house while the children are young.


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