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When you marry or enter into a civil partnership, each of you automatically become entitled to Matrimonial Home Rights.
Matrimonial Home Rights mean that each of you have a legal right to occupy the matrimonial home regardless of whether the property is jointly owned or in one party’s sole name and that includes a property which is rented (again, regardless of whether the tenancy is in a sole name or joint names).
Essentially, this is a form of ‘restriction’ that can be entered onto the title of a property at the Land Registry if the property is owned by one party only. The effect of it is that the spouse’s interest is registered on the property title and the spouse (who does not own the property) shall be notified if there is an attempt to change any of the details on the register, i.e. an attempt to sell the property. Further, it can include the right to continue living in the family home and not be made to leave unless there is an Occupation Order stating that one spouse must leave the home. Regardless of who owns the property (or whether rented), both parties have a right to occupy until a financial arrangement is sealed by the court.
In summary, a Home Rights Notice exists to protect the ‘non-owning’ spouse’ interest in property.
You may still sell your property however once a Home Rights Notice is registered, it is clear to potential buyers that a ‘non-owning’ spouse has rights to occupy the property. This entry on the register is likely to deter potential buyers as it may be that the non-owning spouse does not wish to sell and this may make the conveyancing transaction lengthy and difficult.
Where the non-owning spouse consents to the sale of the property, then this is not an issue and the Home Rights Notice can be removed at any time.
The most obvious way is that the spouse who registered the Home Rights Notice withdraws it. However, the other ways are as follows –