Family law

Are you on the title deeds?

If you're co-habiting it's essential to know your rights and understand the difference between being joint tenants and tenants in Common. 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 0800 780 2730 or contact us online and we will be happy to call you and discuss your options without obligation.

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What are my rights over property when I'm cohabiting?

In many cases, co-habiting couples both have their names on the title deeds of the property they live in. This means that in the event of a split, both parties should know exactly what share of the equity they own.

However just because you are named on the title deeds it doesn't mean that you own an equal share of the property. It's also best to bear in mind that if you are unmarried and don't have a will, you won't necessarily inherit your partner's share of the property in the event of their death.

You need to understand the difference between being named as joint tenants and tenants in common on the title deeds. You should also consider having a cohabitation agreement in place that sets out your intentions regarding ownership of the property in the event that one of you dies or in the event of your relationship breaking down.  

What are joint tenants?

When you buy a property with someone else, you will be given the option to be either Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. If you decide to be Joint Tenants, this generally means that you both own the entire property. In the event that one of you dies, the other partner will automatically inherit the property, regardless of the provisions of your will.

It also means that in the event you split up, any equity needs to be divided equally, whether you sell the property or one party buys the other out.

What are tenants in common?

If you buy a property together as tenants in common, you do not necessarily own an equal share in the property. In fact, this arrangement is more common when one party is putting a larger deposit down on a property than the other, and wishes to make sure that they get a proportionally larger share of any equity if the relationship ends.

The other notable difference when you are tenants in common is that you will not automatically inherit the other party's share of the property, unless they leave it to you in their will.

Do I need a cohabitation agreement?

Yes. We always recommend that cohabiting couples make a cohabitation agreement as soon as they decide to live together. This ensures that you both know where you stand financially and legally from the outset.

It is especially important if you decide to buy a property together because simply having your name on the title deeds doesn't always mean that it reflects what you have agreed in the event that the other party dies or the relationship breaks down.

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