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Housing and relationship breakdown

If only your partner's name is on the tenancy

If your partner formally ends the tenancy by giving legal notice to your landlord where they are the sole tenant then this will end the tenancy for you too, even if you do not wish to move out. If you think your partner might do this you may be able to prevent it but you will need to take expert advice before this happens.

Unmarried couples - short term rights

If you are not married and your partner is the sole tenant, then you will only be able to remain in the property with his/her agreement. In the short-term you may be able to get an occupation order from the court to allow you to stay temporarily. Your rights to do this will be strengthened if you have children. If your partner (the tenant) moves out and you have not got an occupation order from the court, in certain circumstances you could be evicted. If you think your partner is intending to move out you need to take independent advice quickly.

Married couples - short term rights

If your partner is the sole tenant but you are married, you have the right to:

  • occupy the matrimonial home, and not be excluded, except by court order
  • if not occupying the home, to obtain a court order to regain entry and live there
  • pay the rent (although you cannot be held legally liable for the payments unless liability has been transferred by the court).

If you and your partner cannot agree about living arrangements during a marital breakdown, then you can apply to the court for an occupation order and the court will decide what should be done in the short-term.

Long term options for married and cohabitating couples

If you are married and getting divorced or you had a relationship then in the long term you can ask the court to transfer the tenancy into your name. The court will consider both your situations before deciding whether to do this. No matter what relationship you are in it might be possible to voluntarily transfer the tenancy into your name if your partner agrees. Whether or not you can do this depends on the type of tenancy your partner has and you will need to seek independent advice. If it is possible to do this it is very important that you use the correct legal method to transfer the tenancy otherwise you may both lose the tenancy completely. It is not enough just to tell your landlord that your partner is moving out.