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Rights to occupy the home

This content applies to England & Wales

Cohabitants' rights to occupy the home.

Where a couple are cohabiting and the property is in one name only, the non-owning cohabitant will, in many cases, not have an automatic right to occupy. The non-owning cohabitant usually has the status of a bare licensee, ie s/he is only entitled to remain in the family home as long as the cohabiting owner gives permission. If the owner wants the partner to leave, all that is legally required is 'reasonable notice'. Once the notice expires, the non-owning cohabitant becomes a trespasser.

A non-owning cohabitant, however, may be able to show that s/he has a right to remain in one of the following situations. A non-owning cohabitant may be able to show that s/he has a beneficial interest, or a contractual or irrevocable licence, or rights by estoppel.

Beneficial interest

How a non-owning cohabitant may be able to show that s/he has a beneficial interest in the home. 

Contractual or irrevocable licences

How a non-owning cohabitant may be able to show that s/he has a contractual or irrevocable licence. 

Rights by estoppel

How a non-owning cohabitant may be able to show that s/he has rights by estoppel. 

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