Q&A Can an Occupation Order really deny me access into my own home?

Q: My girlfriend and I had a bust up when I discovered she had slept with my best friend. Next day she changed the locks and for a week I haven’t been able to get into the house we own and pay the mortgage for jointly. She says she is going to apply for Occupation Order, which means I will have to find somewhere else to live. Surely, she can’t stop me from going into my own house?

A: If you want the right to return to, stay in or exclude someone else from the home, you may be able to use an Occupation Order. Occupation Orders can also enforce rights, as well as giving or ending rights to occupy a property. They can also be used to clarify who is going to pay the mortgage and utility bills, allow you to return to the home if your partner has changed the locks, and/or to restrict someone's use of a property, for example if you and your partner must live in different parts of the same home.

Occupation Orders usually last a specific length of time and are supposed to be a short-term measure. They do not change the financial ownership of the property.

The making of an Occupation Order can be deemed as a draconian order, and therefore the Court will need good reason to grant such an Order. They are often granted in cases where there is domestic abuse. Whilst victims of domestic abuse can apply for a Non-Molestation Order under the Family Law Act 1996, that does not deal with the issue of who can occupy the property or offer the same protection as an Occupation Order does, excluding the perpetrator from the property, allowing you peaceful occupation.

The court will grant an order of occupation if it believes the applicant will suffer significant harm if the order is not made. You should make an appointment to see a family solicitor as soon as possible.

This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham Office

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen Office:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

Oswestry Office:

Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

Deon Hayward

Deon Hayward

Solicitor

Deon Hayward is a Solicitor based in our Oswestry office.