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Cohabiting couples: joint owners

This content applies to England & Wales

The situation of cohabiting couples who are joint owners whose relationship has broken down. Rights to occupy the home under family and housing law. Protecting those rights in the short and long term, and financial issues and considerations.

The section refers to all couples, whether heterosexual, lesbian or gay, unless stated otherwise. For most purposes, lesbian or gay couples that have become civil partners are treated in the same way as married heterosexual couples, and their position is dealt with in the section on Married/civil partners: joint owners. For more information about relationship breakdown and domestic violence, see the section on Domestic abuse.

The law on relationship breakdown

Legislation covering relationship breakdown issues. 

What is joint ownership?

A definition of joint ownership. 

Rights to occupy the home

Rights that cohabitant joint owners have to occupy the home. 

Resolving occupation disputes

The different ways in which occupation disputes can be resolved. 

Preventing sale/disposal of the home

How a joint-owning cohabitant may be able to prevent sale or disposal of the home by the other joint owner. 

Staying in the home long term

Ways in which decisions can be made as to who stays in the home in the long term. 

Financial issues

Other financial issues that may arise on the breakdown of a relationship. 

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