This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Rights to occupy the home

This content applies to England & Wales

The rights that cohabiting couples have to occupy the home where the property is in one name only .

Where a couple are cohabiting and the property is in one name only, the non-tenant/non-licensee cohabitant has no automatic right to occupy arising from her/his relationship with the tenant/licensee. The non-tenant/non-licensee 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 tenant/licensee cohabitant gives permission.

Family mediation can help families resolve disputes about children or financial matters away from the courts. It is a voluntary process where family members can meet safely in the presence of an impartial and independent family mediator to discuss disputes. It does not aim to help people get back together, but to help them manage their future better.

For more information see Gov.uk – Money and property when a relationship ends.

If the tenant/licensee wants the partner to leave, all that is legally required is 'reasonable notice'. Once the notice expires, the non-tenant/non-licensee cohabitant becomes a trespasser.

Back to top