Civil partnerships and your housing rights

Since 2005, same sex partners have been able to register a civil partnership. From June 2021 opposite sex partners are also able to do this. This legal relationship gives couples in a civil partnership similar rights to couples who are married. This page looks at housing rights for civil partners.

Occupancy rights

As a civil partner, you have the right to move into and remain in the family home.

Even if your partner is the sole tenant or owns the home, you still have rights to live in the property. If your partner tries to force you out of the home, you will be able to apply for a court order to enforce your occupancy rights. This will depend on whether you rent or own your home.

Rights for tenants

If your family home is rented and you are joint tenants or your partner is the sole tenant, you have the right to pay the rent or council tax without your partner's permission. You are also entitled to ask your landlord to carry out any of their obligations under the tenancy agreement, such as repairs.

If your partner abandons the property, the tenancy will continue as if they were staying there, although you would have to pay the rent.

If you and your partner split up, you can ask the court if they will make an order transferring the tenancy into your name.

Rights for homeowners

If you and your civil partner own your home jointly or if your partner is the sole owner, you have the right to pay the mortgage, any secured loan instalments and the council tax, and to carry out essential repairs without your partner's permission.

If your partner rents out or even sells the property without your permission, you will not have to move out and the new tenant or new owner will not be able to move in while you are still living there.

Your partner won't be able to take out a second mortgage or secured loan on the family home without your permission, although they will be able to apply to the court to dispense with your consent.

If you and your partner split up, you will be able to apply to the court for the right to sell the property and divide the proceeds between you.

Exclusion orders

If your civil partner becomes abusive or violent, you can apply to the court for an exclusion order forbidding them to enter the family home.

Benefits

When it comes to claiming benefits, couples living together need to claim together.

If you are in a civil partnership and your civil partner dies, you may be able to claim bereavement benefits or state retirement pension using your civil partner's contribution record.

Ending a civil partnership

If your relationship breaks down, you can apply to the court to have your civil partnership formally dissolved, in a process similar to divorce. The partner who applies for dissolution will need to provide evidence that the partnership has broken down irretrievably.

Once the partnership has ended, you and your ex will have a responsibility to provide for each other financially, and to provide for any children you have. The court can decide how your property should be divided and who should stay in the family home. You can find out more about your rights if you split up in the section on relationship breakdown.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more about registering civil partnerships and the rights this gives you at the following websites:

  • You can find out more about registering civil partnerships at the website of the National Records of Scotland.

  • Citizens Advice Advice guide website has a useful fact sheet on civil partnerships.

  • The Scottish Government website has a section on civil partnerships, including information concerning overseas relationships and immigration.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 16 June 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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