What happens if you move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and then split up? Who has the right to keep living in the house? If one party leaves do they still have to pay the mortgage? Can they get their money out of the house? Can they force the other party to sell? What do they do if the other party won’t budge?
Is it different if the parties are not boyfriend and girlfriend; say if three friends in their 20s get together to buy a house? What if a mother and son jointly buy a house?
We provide advice on all of these issues.
Ideally parties sign a “Cohabitation Agreement” before they move in, agreeing exactly what will happen in the “what if” scenarios, avoiding costly and emotionally draining disputes later on. We provide advice on what should be covered in a Cohabitation Agreement, and draft them for clients. And they do work.
If no Cohabitation Agreement has been signed then we advise clients on their entitlement. We try then to encourage an agreement, for example that one party may achieve their wish to stay in the house, having released the other from the mortgage, and having paid out the other’s financial interest.
Court proceedings are a last resort, but where there really is no other option that is the route we will take. Courts have power to conduct a sale of a property, to evict parties from properties and even to sign the sale agreement on behalf of a party that is refusing to cooperate.
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Rights Of Unmarried Couples: Are We Any Further Forward?
This week the Supreme Court delivered its long-awaited judgement in a case regarding the property rights of unmarried couples. Many unmarried cohabitees are still unaware that they have no automatic right to property on separation and must rely on complex case law to decide what will happen...(read more)
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