Q: The COVID lockdown ended our marriage and I moved out and rented a room in a mate’s house. For the sake of the kids, I agreed I would not force a sale on the house that my ex and I own jointly, and I have carried on paying the mortgage, which is why I can only afford a room for myself. Now my ex has met someone online and wants him to move in. Should I make her sell up? Or can I charge him rent?
A: If your ex-partner invited her new partner to live with her, he would not be classed as a tenant. You would therefore have no legal right to charge him rent. However, because you own the house jointly, the new partner should obtain your permission to live there. That might give you the opportunity to ask whether he intends to make a financial contribution and reduce the burden on you. If he is not willing to contribute financially, you could then explore pursuing your right to occupational rent from your ex-partner.
Occupational rent is a notional rent paid by the spouse or partner still living in the home, to compensate the other for the fact that their share of capital in the home has been made available to the other spouse/partner while being unavailable to them. Whilst it is not actual income, you would be credited an amount to reflect your ex benefiting from sole occupation and use of the joint property.
You would need to apply to the court for an Order granting occupational rent. Although it is possible to live with such an arrangement for many years, in most cases it only happens for a short period of time whilst the division of marital assets is being sorted out. We would recommend that you seek legal advice as to your position by arranging an appointment to see a family law solicitor.
This question has been answered by Sean Rolinson, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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