Moving into a home that your partner rents

When you move in with your partner, your housing rights depend on:

  • the type of tenancy they have

  • who is on the tenancy agreement

  • your marital status

If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you’ll have stronger rights, even if you’re not on the tenancy agreement.

You'll have different rights if your partner owns their home.

Paying for household costs

If you're not on the tenancy agreement, you're not responsible for paying the rent. You can agree to pay some rent to your partner or the landlord. Paying rent to the landlord can help secure your rights as a tenant.

If you become a joint tenant, you’re both responsible for the full rent. This means if one of you stops paying, the other will have to pay the full amount.

If you get benefits

Living together usually changes the amount of benefits you get.

To check how your benefits will be affected:

If you’re married or in a civil partnership

You have extra rights, even if you're not on the tenancy agreement:

  • your partner cannot end the tenancy without your permission

  • you can stay in the home if your partner moves out

  • you can take over the tenancy if your partner dies

  • you can take on the responsibilities of maintaining the tenancy, like paying the rent and reporting repairs

These rights apply to most types of tenancy, as long as the landlord knows that you live there.

If your partner rents from the council or a housing association

Your partner must tell the council or housing association in writing that you’re moving in, and keep evidence that they've done this.

12 months after they’ve told the landlord, you’ll have the right to:

  • become a joint tenant

  • take over the tenancy if your partner moves out or dies

If you're married or in a civil partnership and your partner dies, you can take over the tenancy no matter how long you've lived there.

You need the council or housing association’s permission to become a joint tenant or take over the tenancy. They can only refuse if they have a good reason.

If you become a joint tenant

You can end your part of the tenancy with 4 weeks’ notice in writing. This does not affect your partner’s right to stay in the home.

Check your rights in a joint tenancy

If your partner rents from a private landlord

Your partner must tell the landlord in writing that you’re moving in.

If you want to be added to the tenancy, you can ask the landlord to either:

  • give you a separate tenancy agreement

  • sign a new joint tenancy agreement with both of you

Having a separate tenancy means you’re only responsible for your part of the rent, and you can end your tenancy at any time. However, the landlord may not agree to separate tenancies.

If you become a joint tenant

Neither of you can end the tenancy without the other’s permission. If you move out without ending the tenancy, you're still responsible for paying the rent.

Check your rights in a joint tenancy

If you’re not on the tenancy agreement

You will not be responsible for paying rent, and you can move out at any time.

If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, your right to live there is weaker. Your partner can end the tenancy without your permission. If they move out, you could be evicted more easily.

If you make regular rent payments to the landlord, this can help secure your rights as a tenant, even if you do not have anything in writing.

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