Who Gets The House When An Unmarried Couple Splits Up UK?

Who Gets The House When An Unmarried Couple Splits Up UKThe law relating to the property rights of unmarried couples differs considerably from that which governs married couples or civil partners. As a result, many unmarried individuals are unsure of the extent of their rights and responsibilities towards their partner, and our expert family solicitors are regularly approached by clients keen to understand ‘Who gets the house when an unmarried couple splits up UK?’.

As with most legal issues, there is no straightforward answer to the property issues faced by unmarried couples splitting up. Your position will depend on a variety of factors, including who legally owns the property and the couple’s intentions.

Our family law team have decades of experience advising unmarried individuals on their property rights and their position overall in the context of their relationships. Our solicitors are approachable, friendly and empathetic, and will work tirelessly to protect your interests.

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Who Gets The House When An Unmarried Couple Splits Up UK If They Own It Jointly?

If you own the house jointly with your partner, you both enjoy rights over it. However, the nature and extent of those rights depend on how the property is owned.

Jointly owned property can be held by its owners as either joint tenants or tenants in common. Most couples who buy a property together do so on a joint tenancy basis.

Under a joint tenancy, you and your partner each own the whole of the house. So, the answer to ‘ Who gets the house when an unmarried couple splits up UK’? in this scenario is, you both do. You are both entitled to live there and neither party can force the other to leave. Clearly, if your relationship has ended, you are unlikely to want to continue cohabiting. You have various options, including one partner buying the other out or selling the house. When you own the house as joint tenants, the sale proceeds will be split equally between you.

Tenancies in common differ from joint tenancies in that each partner owns an identifiable share of the property. There can be several reasons for couples choosing this type of ownership. For example, if you want to decide who inherits your share of the property when you die, a tenancy in common will be the better option since the house will not automatically pass to your surviving partner but will instead form part of your estate.

Under a tenancy in common, you and your partner can own your house in equal shares or on any other basis you choose. For example, you may wish your shares to mirror your contributions to the purchase price, particularly if one partner’s contribution was significantly greater than the other’s. You can change the basis of your ownership at any time. So, if one of you funds an expensive home improvement project, you may decide to reflect their enhanced contribution in their ownership share. If you separate from your partner and sell the house, the sale proceeds will be divided in accordance with your ownership shares.

Who Gets The House When An Unmarried Couple Splits Up UK And One Partner Solely Owns It?

Many unmarried individuals believe that if they share their partner’s house during their relationship, they are entitled to a share in it when their relationship ends, particularly if they made financial contributions towards it. This is untrue. The general rule is that whoever is listed on the title deeds as the legal owner gets the house when an unmarried couple splits up.

The only way you might be able to claim a share of the house is if you can prove that you and your partner intended to own it jointly, regardless of what the title deeds show. For example, paying for significant improvement work to the property may indicate an understanding between the couple that the house was jointly owned. After all, it would be unusual for someone to invest considerable sums in a property they had no interest in.

If you can prove that you and your partner considered the property to be owned by you both, you will be deemed to have a beneficial interest in it. That beneficial interest may give rise to a number of rights, including an entitlement to remain living there when your relationship ends or to a share of the sale proceeds.

How We Can Help

If you and your partner decide not to marry or enter into a civil partnership, it is a good idea to put arrangements in place to protect your respective positions in the event of a split. Our expert family law solicitors will advise on the most appropriate arrangements in your circumstances and prepare any relevant documentation on your behalf. For example, many unmarried couples enter into Cohabitation Agreements to state how their assets should be divided if their relationship ends. Not only do these agreements give both parties certainty regarding their rights and responsibilities, but they also avoid any lengthy, expensive disputes in the future. Furthermore, you can use the agreement to address other issues, such as next-of-kin rights, to ensure you have a say in crucial decisions regarding your partner’s welfare.

If you have separated from your partner and are unsure of your rights, having a chat with an experienced family law solicitor can bring clarity to the situation and enable you to make an informed decision about your future. If they believe you have a beneficial interest in your ex-partner’s house, they will explain the process involved in asserting that interest and help you decide whether making a claim is the best option for you. If you choose to proceed, they will ensure your case is dealt with in the quickest and most cost-effective way, giving clear and concise advice every step of the way.

Please call us now on 01603 672222 for a no-obligation conversation today or Click Here To Make An Online Enquiry.

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