What are your rights if your partner wants you to move out?

This is a very frequent question which is asked by our clients. This depends entirely upon the circumstances.

Anyone that is married or in a civil partnership has the right to live in the main family home during the marriage, civil partnership, or in the family home if it has been.

Whether you are renting the property, the property is in your joint name or only one person’s name. Either way, both parties have the right to be in the home and therefore cannot exclude the other person without a court order. Neither party has any right to change the locks. Married or in a civil partnership this all depends upon whether the property is owned jointly or not. If you have a jointly owned property, then by law you cannot change the locks without the permission or agreement of the other person. When a locksmith is called to change the locks, we normally require proof of ownership, a tenancy agreement, any correspondences, and a picture ID.

Both persons have the right to occupy the property or have access to the property.

If one of you owns the property, then that person as the owner is permitted to change the locks. However, if the non-owning person pays money and contributes to the rent, purchase price, paying for improvements then they may be able to prove an interest in the house which could mean that they have a right to live there. Therefore, before changing any locks it will be wise to seek legal advice.

Can my ex-partner break-in?

In order to re-enter a property which, they have been excluded from, a joint owner can use “reasonable force”. As an emergency locksmith could and should be used at all times which is called reasonable force. However, reasonable force does not mean for the owner to kick the door in and hurting the other parties in the process.

When a person enters a property without lawful authority or If a person uses or threatens violence whilst the person in the property who is divergent to the entry and the person attempting to enter is aware that this is the case it is a criminal offense under Section 6 of the criminal law act 1977.

The Act states that if a person has an interest in or occupy or has a right to possess the property this doesn’t constitute lawful authority. Therefore, any violence can be against the property or the other person. You could possibly in some cases exclude the other person that has a right to occupy the property by obtaining an Occupation Order from the court. Reasonable grounds are required to successfully obtain an Occupation Order in order to exclude your partner.

A prime example of this is that you may be required that there is a risk of harm to yourself or your children which is quite difficult to obtain sometimes.

Sometimes partners will change the locks to keep the other person out, if this does occur then the partner that is locked out could find themselves facing a court application if he/she seeks to enforce their right to live in the property or they try to forcibly re-enter.

Are there any other solutions?

Mediation is the most effective, rational, and cost-effective solution to deal with the issue without the need for a court order. In addition to this solution the person living in the property should therefore ask for a notice from the person that is leaving should they wish to return to the property.

If you are in the process of waiting for a court date, then my advice to both parties does not hinder you by entering the property at all as this could go against yourself and give the other person the upper hand in court.

Either you can speak with a lawyer or if compromised in a sensible manner then by all means contact a locksmith near me today for a quote. If circumstances develop into violence or threatening behaviour, then please contact the police immediately.

Support is always provided from the following websites:

Citizens Advice Bureau

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/ending-a-relationship/if-you-were-living-together/your-ex-partner-is-trying-to-make-you-leave/

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1158552-Hes-Locked-Me-Out

https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/blog/can-change-locks-divorce/

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