When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Relationship breakdown

When a relationship fails you might not want to continue living together. Your rights to stay in your home often depend on whether you own or rent your home and what kind of tenant you are.


If you or your partner owns your home and you decide that can no longer live together you may need to get legal advice on your options.  Your options depend on your answers to these questions

  • Are both your names on the deeds of the property?
  • Did you set up a legal agreement outlining what would happen if you separated?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Did you both contribute towards the deposit and mortgage costs?
  • How long have you been living in the property?

If you have a solicitor helping you deal with your relationship breakdown he or she may be able to help you work out what to do about your jointly owned property.  You can speak to our specialist mortgage debt advisers if your partner has moved out and you’re worried about affording the mortgage payments on the property by yourself. 


Your rights will depend on whether you are joint tenants, who are both named on the tenancy agreement.  Only the person or persons named on the tenancy agreement has a legal right to live in the property.

If one joint tenant ends a tenancy with the Housing Executive or a Housing Association the whole tenancy is ended. If one of you decides to leave, you may be able to get the tenancy assigned into the other person's sole name so he or she can continue to live in the property once you leave. The Housing Executive or housing association does not have to approve all requests for assignments. 

Private tenants will have to negotiate with their landlord to end the tenancy early or if they want to change the name on the tenancy agreement.


You may be able to resolve your differences with your partner through mediation.  Mediation is a way of resolving disputes through discussion.  Lots of organisations provide mediation services in Northern Ireland.  Some services, such as family mediation for separating or troubled families, are free while you may have to pay for others.

Finding somewhere new to live

If you’re not able to sort out your relationship problems you can look at the other housing options available to people in Northern Ireland