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Registering a Property as a Matrimonial Home

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 18 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Matrimonial Home Rights Register Land

There may be situations where a spouse or civil partner lives in a property, as the matrimonial home, but is not a legal owner of the property. Under provisions currently contained in the Family Law Act 1996, a spouse or civil partner in this situation may be able to register a matrimonial home interest against the property at the Land Registry.

What are Matrimonial Home Rights?

Matrimonial home rights may arise where a person lives in a property which is owned by their spouse or civil partner. Matrimonial home rights may give that person the right to continue living in the property even if the relationship breaks down. These rights will usually only continue for as long as the couple is married or in a civil partnership and should only apply to a property which is – or was – the matrimonial home. However, in some cases a judge could make an order which allows an individual to remain in the property after the marriage or civil partnership has formally ended.

Matrimonial home rights are of little relevance to a spouse or civil partner who is a joint owner of the property.

Registering a Matrimonial Home Right Interest

The Family Law Act 1996 provides the mechanism by which a spouse or civil partner can register a property as their matrimonial home with the Land Registry. (This relates only to registered land. Different, but similar, provisions may apply in the case of unregistered land – see below). The Family Law Act 1996 was amended by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 so that the provisions contained in it apply equally to civil partners. Since that time these rights have technically been known simply as “home rights” but the term “matrimonial home rights” is still widely used.

In order to register a matrimonial home rights notice it will be necessary to know the title number of the property. If this information is not readily available it is possible to make a formal request to the Land Registry for the title number. This can be done using form SIM, which can be downloaded from the Land Registry website. Once the title number of the property is known, an application may be made to have matrimonial home rights registered against it using form HR1. There is no fee for the application but notice that an application has been made will be given to the spouse or civil partner who owns the property.

By registering a matrimonial home rights notice against the property the spouse or civil partner who owns it will be prevented from selling or re-mortgaging the property without telling the other spouse or partner. It is only possible to have matrimonial home rights registered against one property at a time.

Matrimonial Home Rights and Unregistered Land

If the property in question is not registered with the Land Registry, an application should be made to the Land Charges Department to register a Class F land charge against the name of the spouse or civil partner who owns the property. A token fee is payable for this service. The majority of properties in the UK are now on registered land but some properties may still be unregistered – especially if they have not changed hands for a long time.

A Matrimonial Home Notice and Prospective Purchasers

Checking for a matrimonial home rights notice is part of the usual conveyancing process. A registered notice will appear in the land registry entries themselves or on a separate search for any home rights.

If no such notice is registered against the property a prospective purchaser will be able to satisfy themselves that buying the property will not bring with it any issues regarding a spouse or civil partner claiming a right of occupation. However, if a matrimonial homes right is registered against the property the purchase will not be able to proceed without prior notice being given to the spouse or civil partner with the registered rights.

The matrimonial home right entry on the register will give the name and address, or other contact details, of the person who has registered the notice. These details can then be used to advise that person that a sale or re-mortgage of the property is proposed. If a purchaser buys a property subject to these rights, without the agreement of a spouse or civil partner with the right to occupy it, they may not be entitled to vacant possession of the property.

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[Add a Comment]
Jen - Your Question:
Me and my husband live in his house, property registered in his name. We are officially married 4,5 years, I live in his house 4 years. Can I apply for registration of notice of home rights? Who can be an applicant? (q5 of HR1) Whose name should be given in q6 and whose signature wll be in q12?

Our Response:
This is usually done when couples intend to divorce or separate. The information and how to apply, is all here.
DIYConveyance - 25-Jul-17 @ 11:36 AM
Me and my husband live in his house, property registered in his name. We are officially married 4,5 years, I live in his house 4 years. Can I apply for registration of notice of home rights? Who can be an applicant? (q5 of HR1) Whose name should be given in q6 and whose signature wll be in q12?
Jen - 18-Jul-17 @ 11:24 AM
Runner - Your Question:
My 24 year old daughter came home to live with us from University last year. She has contributed very little from participating in the tasks of the home and nothing financially. This has caused immense conflict between myself and her but also with my husband who should have supported me on these issues but didn't. My father has been seriously ill in hospital for six months and this along with a huge deadline left me at the end of my tether. I walked out a month ago - not seeing further than just getting away from the situation as I was utterly exhausted. Since then my husband has insited that there be no communication ( either by phone, text or email) which has been very difficult as I needed to work in my office in our home - and was told I was no longer welcome and could only come here at times (agreed by text with our daughter) and no more than twice a week. I was told yesterday by my husband that we are now separated and he never wants to see me again. I am now back in the house and although we are married (July 2007) my name is not on the deeds (because I had my own property at the time and I didn't think it fair that I should own half this property even though the rental from my property fed into paying the mortgage in this our matrimonial home. I sold my property in 1999 and a lot of that money went into paying off the mortgage here. There was a Trust Deed which stated that he owned 3/5 of the property and I owned 2/5. Was this revoked when we married? Am I entitled to half of all our goods and his business. We have been in a relationship for 35 years. He is working a lot of the time in West Wales and lives there in a caravan we own. Do I have a right to stay here? Will we need to sell the house? Should I register my rights in this house as the matrimonial hime?

Our Response:
You would be better off taking all your documents to a solicitor and asking for advice there. Please do not let this situation be the cause of a rift between you and your daughter/rest of your family.
DIYConveyance - 8-Aug-16 @ 12:55 PM
My 24 year old daughter came home to live with us from University last year. She has contributed very little from participating in the tasks of the home and nothing financially. This has caused immense conflict between myself and her but also with my husband who should have supported me on these issues but didn't. My father has been seriously ill in hospital for six months and this along with a huge deadline left me at the end of my tether. I walked outa month ago - not seeing further than just getting away from the situation as I was utterly exhausted. Since then my husband has insited that there be no communication ( either by phone, text or email) which has been very difficult as I needed to work in my office in our home - and was told I was no longer welcome and could only come here at times (agreed by text with our daughter) and no more than twice a week. I was told yesterday by my husband that we are now separated and he never wants to see me again. I am now back in the house and although we are married (July 2007)my name is not on the deeds (because I had my own property at the time and I didn't think it fair that I should own half this property even though the rental from my property fed into paying the mortgage in this our matrimonial home.I sold my property in 1999and a lot of that money went into paying off themortgage here. There was a Trust Deed which stated that he owned 3/5 of the property and I owned 2/5. Was this revoked when we married? Am I entitled to half of all our goods and his business. We have been in a relationship for 35 years. He is working a lot of the time in West Wales and lives there in a caravan we own. Do I have a right to stay here? Will we need to sell the house?Should I register my rights in this house as the matrimonial hime?
Runner - 8-Aug-16 @ 9:40 AM
Deano - Your Question:
Me and my wife share our matrimonial home, the property is only registered in her name since 2001 when we moved here. She has moved out in the last few days due to her seeing someone else. If we end up separating, what right do I have to my share of the property and can I remain in the house until we sell it?

Our Response:
If you are married, you are entitled to half the property if you split. You may need legal help to pursue this. Staying in the property for the time being is probably the right thing to do and may help your case.
DIYConveyance - 6-Aug-15 @ 12:13 PM
Me and my wife share our matrimonial home, the property is only registered in her name since 2001 when we moved here. She has moved out in the last few days due to her seeing someone else. If we end up separating, what right do I have to my share of the property and can I remain in the house until we sell it?
Deano - 5-Aug-15 @ 10:09 PM
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