Q: I am married with a 12-year old daughter but my wife and I separated six months ago. Since the separation my wife has lived with our son in the property we bought in joint names and I still pay the mortgage as she is not working. Now she has met someone else and he wants to move in with her. I am not happy about this as I am struggling financially to get a home of my own together. Could I charge my wife’s new partner rent as I own half the house and pay the mortgage?
A: Firstly, as you own the house jointly with your wife, if she moved someone in and they are living together as a couple, it is unlikely he or she could be considered a tenant and therefore you would not have a legal right to charge your wife’s new partner rent. He should have your permission to move into the property and you may wish to discuss the extent of his financial contribution to the outgoings to reduce the financial burden on you.
There is a right to occupational rent that arises as you have moved out of the property, irrespective of your wife’s partner moving in, which would allow you to be credited an amount to reflect your wife benefiting from sole occupation and use of the joint property. If your marriage has broken down completely, you should legally formalise the situation in relation to the property by way of a divorce and financial Order. We would advise that you speak to a family law specialist to discuss your options to resolve matters as amicably, swiftly and as cost effectively as possible.