Posted by Hannah Porter on 8th September 2017
Last updated 23rd October 2020

The biggest asset in a relationship is usually property. But what happens if a relationship breaks down, and one person holds the legal title to the property, asks Solicitor, Hannah Porter.

I’m not named on the land registry as a proprietor of the property I used to live in.

What can I do?

If you were married or in a civil partnership, find out if you are named as a proprietor. If not, register a Home Rights Notice against the property quickly – this will be lodged with the Land Registry and permits occupation. Home Rights are personal rights against being evicted or excluded, allowing entry and occupation of the family home if you are not already living there. They entitle you to receive notification if there are mortgage possession proceedings. They do not give a right of ownership and are not available to cohabitees.

What do Notices do?

Notices protect third party rights by appearing in the charges register of the property title, informing potential purchasers. Someone asserting the benefit of a third-party interest can apply for such a notice to be shown in the register if they show reasonable cause.

There are three types of notice:

  • Agreed notice (usually needs consent of the proprietor)
  • Unilateral notice (can be entered without consent of the proprietor)
  • Registrar’s notice (can only be entered in certain circumstances and is uncommon in family law).
  • If you have a notice on the property, the person with benefit of the notice will be informed if you want to sell or transfer the property, and they could interfere with the transaction.

What is a Restriction?

This is the only type of charge against your property that can prevent your former partner from selling the former family home.

Restrictions regulate the way that the proprietor may deal with the property. It is usual in family law to stipulate that the property cannot be sold without the written consent of the beneficiary of the restriction or their solicitors.

You may enter a restriction if you meet certain criteria and can prove sufficient interest in the property.

The Land Registry registrar must give notice of your application for a restriction to the proprietor of the registered estate or charge to which it relates. If the proprietor objects the matter is referred to an adjudicator.

Can Restrictions and Notices be removed?

Notices cease upon divorce/dissolution or death, an order of the Court or the beneficiary of the Home Rights Notice voluntarily releasing it in writing. Restrictions remain until either party applies to have them removed. It is usual to agree to remove restrictions, subject to an undertaking being provided by the proprietor or his solicitors, if it has been agreed by a Court order that the property is to be sold.

If you are unsure about your rights to your home following relationship breakdown, contact The Family Law Company on 01392 421777.

Need some advice? Get in touch today

Hannah Porter is a Solicitor at The Family Law Company. She supports clients through all aspects of family law but specialises in Divorce and Finance.

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