Tenancy rights if you split up

You have the right to continue to live in your home if you're a:

  • tenant

  • married or civil partner of the tenant

You only have to leave if a court orders you to.

This can mean that you have to share a home for a bit after breaking up while you work out what happens in the longer term.

You are not civil partners just because you have lived together a long time. You need a legal ceremony to be civil partners.

Your options are different if you're experiencing domestic abuse.

You do not have to give up your tenancy straight away if you leave.

Find out how to make an abusive partner leave your home.

What are my tenancy rights if I split up with my partner?

Video transcript

You have the right to live in your home if you're a tenant or their married or civil partner. 

You only have to leave if a court orders you to. 

Check your tenancy agreement to find out if you’re a tenant. Or ask your landlord. 

If you’re not a tenant or their married or civil partner, you can ask the council for help with housing.

They should help if: 

  • you have to leave in the next 2 months 

  • or it's not reasonable to stay – for example, if you’re experiencing domestic abuse or the situation is having a serious effect on your health

Shelter adviser Lizzie explains who has the right to live in a rented home after a relationship ends.

Check who is a tenant

You can:

  • look at your tenancy agreement

  • ask your landlord

Tenancy in one person's name

If you are not a tenant, your ex could:

  • end the tenancy

  • ask you to leave, unless you're married or civil partners

Joint tenancy

You have a joint tenancy if you are both named as tenants on the agreement.

Find out more about relationship breakdown in a:

You can ask the council for homeless help if:

  • you have to leave in the next 2 months

  • it's not reasonable to stay

For example, if you're at risk of domestic abuse or the situation is having a serious effect on your children or your health.

Home rights of married or civil partners

Married and civil partners have a right to live in the family home even if it's not a joint tenancy. For example, if only one of you is named on the agreement.

You only have to leave if:

  • a court orders you to

  • the tenancy ends for another reason

Home rights are often called 'matrimonial home rights' or 'marital home rights'.

Find out more about home rights for married or civil partners.


Last updated: 27 November 2023

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