Help from Home Rights: protect your occupation of the matrimonial home

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We summarise the assistance offered from registration of a Home Right where your spouse is the exclusive owner of your matrimonial home.

We all want to protect any interest we have in the home we live in, but if you are going through matrimonial proceedings you will especially want to protect rights you may have acquired by occupying a property as your home; even if you do not own it. We summarise the assistance offered from registration of a Home Right where your spouse is the exclusive owner of your matrimonial home.

Resulting in an agreed notice, and constituting a charge on the Property (arising from either provisions of the Family Law Act 1996 or a court order made under section 33(5) of the Family Law Act 1996), a Home Right notice will offer protection from a sale (or other dealing of the property) by your spouse, highlighting to third parties (eg, prospective purchasers) that you have a right to occupy the property. While a Home Right does not deem that a legal interest in the property exists, it offers a layer of protection recommended while you negotiate your separation.

For a registered property, the application to the Land Registry is quick and free of charge (subject to your legal fees). While subject to the Land Registry’s notice requirements, the application includes statements by the applicant (or their legal representative) to confirm how the right to apply has arisen (i.e. that the applicant occupies the Property as their matrimonial home at the time of the application) and that they seek to burden the registered estate of the property with the Home Right. The Land Registry will serve notice on the owner when completing the application - whilst this will not prevent your spouse objecting to the application, the Home Right will have been noted on the property title at the time the notice is served. It is therefore immediately doing its job and protecting your interest. Any third party considering the property’s title will therefore have notice of your occupation (and thus your right to occupy it).

A Home Right application is quick and easy and should not to be overlooked. It can provide substantial protection for non-owner spouses living in property as their matrimonial home (but note that they are not recommended for protecting any interest you have in a second home). The Land Registry’s notices and restrictions also offer other options for protecting a legal and/or equitable interest in registered property – please do not hesitate to contact the team if you would like to discuss your circumstances and how we could assist you.

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