The Effects of Restrictions on your Property Rights during Separation

Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith
Head of Family Law
at K J Smith

When a couple end their relationship, there is typically a big dispute between the two parties regarding all of their assets and finances.

In a lot of situations, it can often be the case that one member of the couple holds the legal title to the owned property, rather than any property being jointly owned.

This can bring potential issues to you if you are the individual that doesn’t have legal ownership of the property, but there are a number of things that you can do to help your situation.

What should you do if you aren’t named as a Proprietor of the Property?

Following the separation from your partner, it is important that you determine whether or not you are named as a proprietor of the property in question.

In the case that you aren’t named as the proprietor, you will need to contact the Land registry and permit yourself occupation by registering a ‘Home Rights Notice’ against the property as soon as you can.

By completing this process, you are essentially protecting your personal rights in relation to eviction and exclusion, and this allows you to enter the property and means that you can continue to live there, even if you had already previously left the family home.

Although this process provides you with the previously mentioned rights, it doesn’t give you ownership of the property.

Property Restrictions

Restrictions for the property in question will prevent any unnatural dealings with the property by your former partner, particularly as restrictions can ultimately prevent them from selling it.

In order to file a restriction against the property, you must demonstrate a particular interest in the property, as well as matching a variety of different criteria.

As restrictions specifically relate to the property and the way in which it is handled by the proprietor, they are typically used within family law cases.

The main focus of this would be to prevent the sale of the property without the consent of the individual, or their solicitors, that ensured the restrictions. This would work in a way that the Land Registry would notify the proprietor of the property of your wish to apply a restriction against the property, with any objections to the restriction leading the case to be reviewed be an adjudicator.

A restriction would be removed from the property in the event of divorce, a court ordering or even a voluntary release, from the individual that initially requested the restriction, be put in place.

A restriction would be put in place against a property up until one of the parties applies for its removal, but this is typically following an agreement between the two parties for it to be removed, ready for the sale of the property.

Home Rights Notices and their Purpose

These notices are specifically designed to protect the rights of third parties as they will be lodged within the charges register of the property title, which would in turn inform any potential buyers of the property.

By having such a notice, you will be informed of any attempts to sell or transfer the property, giving you the ability to stop any transactions.

There are three types of notice that can be registered including:

Registrar’s Notice – This type of notice is designed for certain circumstances, and isn’t a very common occurrence within Family Law.

Agreed Notice – This type of notice would need consent from the proprietor of the property.

Unilateral Notice – This type of notice does not require any consent from the proprietor of the property.

It is essential that you know where you stand in relation to your property and your living arrangements. In the case that you aren’t a named proprietor of the property, we advise that you make use of this guide and take the relevant steps to protecting yourself and your position.

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About Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith is the head of family law at K J Smith Solicitors, a specialist family law firm who deal with a wide range of issues including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships and prenuptial agreements.

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