Family law

Property rights of cohabiting couples

If you're co-habiting it's essential that you know your rights and know exactly where you stand if your name is not on the title deeds. Slater and Gordon can help to explain these rights.

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Do I have property rights when I'm cohabiting?

Slater and Gordon's experienced family lawyers may be able to help you establish your property rights. Call us now on 0330 041 5869 or contact us online today and we will call you.

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I'm cohabiting – but what if I don't own the house?

In many cases when couples start cohabiting, especially later in life, they will choose to live in a property that is owned by just one partner. That could work if you both have your own property and money but it can be a risk if you don't.

After all, if you split up some years later and the property owner simply asks the other party to leave, it's quite possible that the non-owner could be left homeless and struggling financially. That's why you should give some thought to having a cohabitation agreement in place that sets out your joint intentions regarding ownership of the property.

If you have recently ended your relationship with your partner - you may need to enquire whether you may have a Beneficial Interest in the property you were sharing, which you can try to establish either through a resulting trust or a constructive trust.

What is a resulting trust?

If you have made financial contributions to the ownership of a property, either through the deposit or subsequent mortgage payments, a court may decide that as a result of these payments, you have a beneficial interest in the property. This is known as a resulting trust.

What is a constructive trust?

A constructive trust might imply you have a beneficial interest in a property if it can be established that both parties had a 'common intention' about the beneficial ownership of the property, stemming either from the time of purchase or a later date. It isn't necessary to have had an explicit conversation about this in order to establish beneficial ownership.

A court will simply look at the conduct of both parties in order to assess whether or not you had 'common intentions' with regards to the property during your relationship.

Would a cohabitation agreement help?

It's too late to draft a cohabitation agreement if you have already split up. We almost always recommend that people take out a cohabitation agreement as soon as they decide to live together.

This may be because one party wishes to protect their property, or it may be that you want to make sure you both get a fair share in any joint property in the event that your relationship ends or one of you dies. It is also essential that you make a will.

However, if you have split up with someone you have been cohabiting with and believe you should have some right to Beneficial Ownership, we may be able to help you to establish whether a Resulting Trust or Constructive Trust could help you.

Legal advice for property rights of cohabitating couples

We carefully tailor our advice to suit your needs and strive to secure the best outcome for you.

Speak to a member of our family law team about the property rights of cohabitating couples, call us on 0330 041 5869 or contact us online here and we will call you back.

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