The Importance of Registering a Home Rights Notice

Conveyancing & Property Law Services in Battle

If you and your spouse have separated, it is important to consider your position regarding the family home. You should check with the Land Registry whose name the property is registered in. If the property is registered in your spouse’s sole name you should register a Home Rights Notice against the property immediately. This is because as you are married you have Home Rights, which means you have the following:

  1. If in occupation, a right not to be evicted or excluded from the property or any part of it except with permission of the Court.
  2. If not in occupation, a right, with permission of the Court, to enter into and occupy the property.

There is no protection unless the Home Rights have been registered against the property at the Land Registry.

Home rights only apply to spouses and civil partners and to property that has been the matrimonial or civil partnership home. Home rights do not give any right of ownership of any kind in the family home.

You cannot apply for home rights if your spouse or civil partner owns the property with someone else – unless your spouse or civil partner would get all the money if the property was sold (also known as being the ‘sole beneficial owner’).

The effect of the registration of a notice is to protect an interest in land by binding any third party who acquires the land. A notice does not prevent the legal owner from selling or otherwise dealing with the property. If, however your spouse tried to sell or re-mortgage the property a buyer or lender would be put on notice of your right and it is unlikely the third party would continue with the transaction unless you agree to the notice being removed from the title.

If you do not register a Home Rights Notice

If you do not register a Home Rights Notice then your spouse could sell the property. They should not spend the money as you may have a beneficial interest in that property but they may spend it. If they purchased another property with the money you would be able to ‘follow the money’. However, this would be difficult.

Rights of occupation will generally continue only during the subsistence of the marriage or civil partnership – therefore will only be effective until Final Order of Divorce or Final Order of Dissolution. However, it is possible to apply for an Order that the rights of occupation continue after the end of the marriage or civil partnership but such an application must be made before the marriage or civil partnership comes to an end.

The property will be dealt with as part of the matrimonial finances. We can help you reach a settlement regarding the finances.

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Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary.  It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.