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Cohabiting couples: sole owner

This content applies to England & Wales

Situation of cohabiting couples whose relationship has broken down, where one of the cohabitants owns the property and the other does not. Rights to occupy the home under family and housing law, protecting those rights in the short and long term, and financial issues and considerations.

This 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: sole owners.

For more information about relationship breakdown and domestic violence, see the section on Domestic violence.

The law on relationship breakdown

Overview of the legislation covering relationship breakdown issues. 

What is sole ownership?

A definition of sole ownership. 

Rights to occupy the home

Cohabitants' rights to occupy the home. 

Resolving occupation disputes

Different ways in which occupation disputes can be resolved. 

Preventing sale/disposal of home

How a non-owning cohabitant may be able to prevent sale or disposal of the home. 

Action after a sale or disposal

Limited circumstances in which it may be possible for a non-owning cohabitant to take action after a sale or disposal by the sole 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. 

Paying the mortgage

This section describes the position regarding mortgage payments for cohabiting sole owners and non-owners. 

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