If you are having relationship difficulties you may be thinking about your housing situation and looking at other options. These are likely to be:
- One person staying in the home while the other moves out
- Both leaving and getting new places
- Continuing to live together, but as separate households (i.e. not as a couple).
If the relationship is amicable it may be possible to stay in the house while one or both of you find alternative accommodation, but in certain cases legal advice is required.
Your housing rights will depend on:
- whether your home is rented or owner-occupied
- the legal status of your relationship (married couples and registered civil partners sometimes have more rights than couples who are living together as ‘cohabitees’)
- whether you have children
- whether there is domestic abuse in the household
You should speak to a specialist adviser or solicitor before making any decisions. There are a number of local firms that provide assistance with family law and mediation which can be found online. Citizens Advice may also be able to direct you to suitable services
If you are looking to resolve your relationship issues, mediation is available from solicitors or mediation services - local ones can be found online. You may be eligible for legal aid in certain circumstances. For further information about legal aid visit www.gov.uk/legal-aid
Get advice before you leave
We always recommend that you get advice to help you make a decision about the best thing to do. It is not always easy to find other accommodation quickly and you could find yourself in a homeless situation. There is no guarantee that you will get temporary accommodation from the Council.
If you leave a tenancy with no obvious intention to return, you are risking eviction. If you want to leave your home, but think you may want to return to it later, you should try to protect your interests in it.
Paying the rent or mortgage
Whether you want to stay or move out, it is essential to think about how the rent or mortgage will be paid. Falling behind on payments could result in:
- Eviction if you rent your home or repossession if you own your home
- Your landlord or lender taking you to court to force you to pay off the arrears
- A bad credit rating, which would make it difficult for you to find a new home
- Jeopardising any legal rights you might have to the home. If the property is in your name (whether solely or jointly), you are liable for the rent or mortgage.
Whether you will be able to make these payments depends on whether you are the tenant or owner, or whether you have home rights and can afford the rent or mortgage. If you don’t have home rights and are not the tenant or owner, but want to stay in the home, you may want to see if you can stop your partner from ending the tenancy or selling the home.
Alternative Housing Options
Family and friends
Explore options with family or friends, even if this is in the short term. It is very difficult to secure housing quickly in Craven as social housing waiting lists are long, and private rented isn’t very affordable, so it is very important not to dismiss this as an option.
Apply on-line at North Yorkshire Home Choice www.northyorkshirehomechoice.org.uk). Paper applications are also available if online completion is not an option.
The main advantage of private rented accommodation is that you will have a greater degree of choice in terms of location and type of property and it is much quicker than waiting for social housing. The Council may be able to assist you with a bond and rent in advance subject to an affordability assessment.
Help towards housing costs.
If you are receiving a state benefit or on a low income you will probably be entitled to financial assistance towards your rent. In Craven this will be through Universal Credit.
If you are looking to rent a private rented property, the maximum amount of help you can get is set by the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). If you are under 35, you will only be able to get rent to cover you for a room in a shared house. You must be at least 35 years old to qualify for a self-contained one-bedroom property. Please see LHA rate on Craven Council’s website https://www.cravendc.gov.uk/benefits-andadvice/local-housing-allowance/
Help available from other agencies
Are the UK's largest provider of relationship support, and every year help over a million people of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations to strengthen their relationships. If you have lost, or may lose your home due to the breakdown of your relationship, relationship counselling or mediation may help. If you are still a couple but things are not going well, a relationship counselling organisation may be able to help you to resolve any difficulties, or help you to come to terms with splitting up. You don’t have to go as a couple as if your partner refuses to go, you can go alone.
- The closest offices are based in Bradford. www.relatebradford.org.uk
Advice on your rights if your relationship has broken down, for example whether you can stay in the family home or who the children should live with. You can also find out how to deal with things like making a will, registering a birth or changing your name, and where else to go for help. www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Shelter cannot house you but can provide specialist housing advice. Free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 open from 8am to 8pm on Mondays to Fridays and from 8am to 5pm on weekends or visit www.shelter.org.uk/advice