UNMARRIED COUPLES PROPERTY RIGHTS ON SEPARATION
It is not uncommon for a cohabitant to put considerable time and effort into the home that they share with their partner. This is often part and parcel of day to day living for unmarried couples who are in a committed and long term relationship. It is crucial however to have a mutual and express understanding and intention between the parties about the impact that this contribution has in respect of an interest in that property.
There is a very high threshold for such partners to demonstrate that they have acquired property rights as a result of their contribution to the renovation of a home. This contribution will need to represent more than just a commitment to the relationship. There needs to be something more concrete insofar as actually acquiring an interest in the property.
The concept of what is fair or reasonable does not apply and this can prejudice a party who has made significant non-financial contributions into a renovation project. Where the parties’ intention is at odds and the whole course of conduct between them does not imply a common intention, the Court has no power to impute one.
To avoid disputes over property when a relationship breaks down, the parties should consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement which can set out any intentions and mutual understandings that the parties have in respect of property.
For further information please contact Susannah Taylor.
This article is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide specific legal advice. It should not be relied upon in the absence of specific advice given in relation to particular circumstances.