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Making your partner leave

You may be able to make your partner leave your home. This will depend on whether you own or rent your home and what kind of rights your partner has to live there. You may have to take legal action to remove them and keep them away.

If you are in danger

If you are in danger, you can always call the police on 999. The police can come and arrest your partner and take them away.

If you need to make your partner leave the family home, you may have to apply for an interdict and/or a non-harassment order to ensure they stay away from you.

Making your partner leave if you rent your home

If you rent your home and your name is on the tenancy agreement, you may be able to get your partner evicted from the property. You may then be able to get the tenancy agreement transferred into your name.

This will depend on:

  • the legal status of your relationship
  • whose name is on the tenancy agreement
  • who you rent your home from.

We are married or in a civil partnership

If you are married or have registered a civil partnership, your partner will have a right to live with you in the family home, even if their name is not on the tenancy agreement. You will need to apply to the court for an exclusion order to suspend their rights to live in your home. The court will grant an exclusion order when it can be shown that it is necessary for your own protection or the protection of your children.

You may also be able to get an order from the court that limits your partner's access to you when you are not in the home. Interdicts can be used to stop your partner from approaching you while you are at work or to stop her/him from going near the school your children attend.

We live together and my name is on the tenancy agreement

If your partner has no legal right to live in your home (that is, if you are not married or in a civil partnership and their name is not on the tenancy agreement), you are within your rights to change the locks when they are out and refuse to let them in. If your partner won't leave, you can apply to the court for an ejection order, or you can ask the police to help you make them leave.

If you have been living together as if you were husband and wife or civil partners, your partner may be able to apply to the court for occupancy rights. The court will take into account the length of time you have been living together and whether or not you have children living with you.

The court will take your partner's behaviour into account when considering whether to grant an order, and you have the right to oppose your partner being given these rights. Your solicitor can advise you on how to do this.

My partner and I rent from the council or an RSL

If you and your spouse or partner rent your home from the council or an RSL (a registered social landlord, that is, a housing association or housing cooperative), you can report your partner to your landlord. They may be able to evict your partner, but will need a reason (or ground) to do so, for example, because your partner has broken the terms of the tenancy agreement, is behaving in an antisocial way or has damaged the property or furniture.

Alternatively, your landlord can also apply to the court to evict your partner and transfer the tenancy into your name, provided the court thinks this is reasonable and provided your landlord can offer your partner somewhere else to live.

My partner and I rent from a private landlord

It's highly unlikely that a private landlord will get involved in a domestic dispute. However, if you feel they will be sympathetic, it could be worth speaking to them and asking them if they can evict your partner or spouse and then issue you with a new tenancy in your name alone.

Bear in mind that your landlord will probably need a ground for eviction. This may be the case if, for example, your partner is behaving in an antisocial way that is upsetting or alarming your neighbours, or they have damaged the property or furniture.

You may be able to apply for an exclusion order to suspend their rights to live in the home if:

  • you are married, or
  • you are in a civil partnership, or
  • your name is on the tenancy agreement, or
  • you have occupancy rights.

Making your partner leave if either of you owns your home

We are married or in a civil partnership and/or we own our home jointly

If you and your partner are married or in a civil partnership or own your home jointly, you will not be able to evict them. Instead, you will have to apply for an exclusion order to suspend their rights to live in your home. You can also apply for an interdict or non-harassment order to keep them away from you. You can ask for a power of arrest to be attached to the interdict.

I own our home

If you own your family home and are not married to your partner or in a civil partnership, you will be able to evict them without a court order. This means you are within your rights to change the locks while they are out. If your partner refuses to leave, you can then apply to the court for an ejection order, which can be enforced by sheriff officers if necessary.

If your partner has applied to the court for occupancy rights and these have been granted, you will need to get an exclusion order to make them leave the home.

You can also apply for an interdict or non-harassment order to keep them away from you.

We live together and my partner owns our home

If your partner owns the home and you are not married or in a civil partnership, you will not be able to evict them. If you apply to the court for occupancy rights, you may be able to apply for an exclusion order. This will prevent them from accessing the home.

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