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What are matrimonial home rights?

Home rights mean that even when a family home is only owned by one spouse, the other spouse will still have a right to occupy the property.

What is a matrimonial home rights notice?

If you are concerned that your spouse may seek to evict you or unilaterally sell or mortgage the family home, then it is possible to register a ‘home rights’ notice at the Land Registry to protect you.

By registering a home rights notice with the Land Registry, you will ensure that any purchaser for value or lender are bound by the registration. This means that you would be entitled to continue living in the property at the exclusion of any potential buyer.

Does a home rights notice prevent the owning spouse from selling the property?

Whilst the existence of a home rights notice does not preclude the owning spouse from either selling or re-mortgaging the property, the existence of the notice means that it is highly unattractive to prospective buyers and mortgagors to go ahead with a transaction. A potential buyer will not want you to retain a right to occupy following sale and thus on a practical level, they will not agree to purchase the property unless you agree to remove the home rights notice.

How to get rid of a home rights notice

A home rights registration can only be removed in limited circumstances. These include: –

  1. An application of the person with the benefit of the rights (i.e. you).
  2. On decree absolute (being the final decree ending your marriage).
  3. On the death of the owning spouse.
  4. Permission from the court.

Can I prevent a mortgage provider from seeking an order for sale of the family home if I have a home rights notice registered with the Land Registry? 

The existence of a home rights notice does not prevent a mortgage provider from asking the court to sell the family home if the owning spouse does not keep up with any mortgage repayments and interest instalments.

The notice will, however, require the mortgagee to make you aware of their intentions and give notice of any such court proceedings between themselves and the owning spouse. At that stage it is possible for you to apply to the court to become a party to the proceedings as a second defendant alongside the owning spouse.

In order to prevent the sale, you may however be required to make payments towards the mortgage instead of the owning spouse. If you agree to this, it is important to establish the basis on which you are making these payments with your spouse.

Rayden Solicitors are able to advise you on the issues raised in this article so if you would like to discuss your situation please contact us on 01727 734260.

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If you require assistance with any aspect of Family Law, please contact us on 01727 734260.

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