Moving into a home that your partner owns

Check your rights when you move into your partner's home. Your rights to stay in the home will be stronger if you’re married or in a civil partnership, or if you become a joint owner.

Your rights will be different if your partner rents their home.

Paying for household costs

If you're not on the title deeds to the home, you're usually not responsible for paying the mortgage or the cost of repairs and maintenance.

You can choose to contribute to these costs, but you might not be entitled to get back any money you put into the home.

If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you could sign a cohabitation agreement. This is a document that sets out agreements about things like finances, property and children.

A cohabitation agreement can help if you split up or your partner dies and there's a dispute about the home. It's only legally binding if it’s drawn up by a solicitor.

Search for a family solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

If you get benefits

Living together usually changes the amount of benefits you get.

To check how your benefits will be affected:

Your rights if you’re married or in a civil partnership

You’ll automatically get occupancy rights to stay in the home. This means that neither of you can force the other to leave without a court order.

You’ll need each other’s permission to:

  • rent out the property

  • sell the property

  • take out a loan against the property

If one of you wants to sell or rent out the property and the other will not agree, you can apply for a court order to allow this.

You can make payments into the mortgage, but you will usually not be responsible if your partner stops paying. You may be entitled to a financial share in the home if it's sold in future.

Your rights if you’re cohabiting partners

Cohabiting means you live together but you're not married or in a civil partnership.

If you're not on the title deeds to the home, your partner can sell, rent out, or take out a loan against the property without your permission.

If you split up or if your partner dies, you may not have strong rights to stay in the home. You can apply for a court order to get the right to stay.

Contributing to the mortgage and other household costs can help you secure the right to stay in the home. However, you may not be entitled to a financial share of the home even if you’ve made payments into the mortgage.

Becoming a joint owner of the home

To become a joint owner, you'll need to be added to the title deeds. A solicitor can help you understand how this will affect your rights and finances.

Search for a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

If both of your names are on the title deeds, you’ll share the same rights and responsibilities, regardless of your marital status. Neither of you can force the other to leave without a court order.

You’ll also need each other’s permission to:

  • rent out the property

  • sell the property

  • take out a loan against the property

If one of you wants to sell or rent out the property and the other will not agree, you can apply for a court order to allow this.

You’ll both be responsible for any repair and maintenance costs.

You’ll only be responsible for mortgage payments if you have a joint mortgage.

If you have a joint mortgage

You’ll both be equally responsible for the mortgage payments. If one of you stops paying, the other will have to pay the full amount.

Neither of you can change the terms of the mortgage without the other’s permission.

If you're worried about your housing rights

Check our advice on your rights if:

Last updated: 17 March 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England