After you separate, your partner may want to sell the home without your agreement. If this happens, you could lose any rights to the home. However, it may be possible to prevent this.
Your partner cannot sell the home without your consent if you are the sole or a joint owner.
Preventing a partner from selling
If you and your partner split up, make sure that your partner doesn't sell the home without your agreement. If this happens, you could lose any rights to the home you might have had. However, your partner cannot sell the home without your consent if you are the sole or a joint owner.
Your partner may also try to give the property away, or use it to raise a loan or second mortgage. They may try to do this to stop you living in the home, or to prevent you from getting a financial share in it. If you think this is the case, don’t delay – use our directory to find an adviser in your area.
Whose agreement is needed before a sale?
The consent of all the property owners is needed to sell the property, unless a sale has been ordered by the courts (see below). You may be able to go to court to get an order for sale if your partner refuses to sell.
If you and your partner are joint owners, you both need to give your consent, unless a court has ordered the sale. Otherwise your partner will not be able to sell without your consent.
Married or in a civil partnership
If you think your spouse/civil partner may try to sell the home without your consent, there are ways you may be able to stop this from happening. Most options are best taken before your relationship legally ends so that any property settlement can be decided as part of the divorce/dissolution proceedings.
Register your home rights
Make sure you register your home rights as soon as possible, ideally before your marriage or civil partnership ends. This will prevent the home being sold, as it will show up on any search a potential buyer makes on the home.
You can check whether your name is already on the title deeds at the Land Registry by looking at their website and paying a small fee.
If your home rights are not registered, and you cannot show a beneficial interest, then you will have no right to stay in the home if it's being sold or repossessed.
Register a restriction or notice on the Land Registry (For unregistered land)
If you are a joint owner you may want to protect your interests in the home by registering a restriction or notice through the Land Charges Department of the Land Registry – this records who owns the land. You can do this at any time before the divorce/dissolution process, or even if you are not going to apply for a divorce or dissolution.
This registration will show up on property searches through the Land Registry and so alert a potential buyer that there is a dispute over the property. You can register a restriction or notice using forms from the Land Registry website. There is a small fee for this service. (Most land in England will be registered land – in this case you should register your home rights).
Getting a court order for sale
You may be able to get a court order to sell the property and get a share in the proceeds. This may be an option, whether you are married or not. You will need to get advice from a solicitor or an adviser before taking action, and apply through the county court.
Apply for an injunction through the courts
An injunction is a court order that stops something happening and might be awarded as part of divorce/dissolution proceedings, for example to prevent a sale.
If you want to apply for an injunction, you should seek advice from a family law solicitor –use the Ministry of Justice Legal Adviser Finder for details of local solicitors and to use the Gov.uk legal aid calculator to check if you are eligible for legal aid.
Last updated: 1 January 2014