When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Selling a shared home

Selling a home that you and your former partner jointly own can be complicated.  You'll usually need to get legal advice from a solicitor who can explain what will happen to the property if a judge forces you to sell the property or you agree to do this yourselves.

When there are children in the property, a court can order that the person who has custody can live in the house until these children either turn 18 or leave full time education.  You can normally only sell a jointly owned home when both owners agree.  If you can't agree to a sale, you should talk to your solicitor.  You may end up having to go to court, which can be very expensive. 

Home owned in one person's name

Where one person owns the property that person will normally be entitled to all the proceeds of the sale, unless there is a written agreement which clearly shows that there was an intention to split the proceeds of any sale.  

If your partner owns the property, but you've put money towards the mortgage, deposit or the running of the household you should speak to a solicitor to see if you are entitled to receive any of the money from the sale of the property.  

Home owned as joint tenants

When 2 people buy a property, they'll buy as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Most purchases are as joint tenants, but you should contact your solicitor if you're not sure of your standing. Each joint tenants is normally entitled to a 50% share of the property. If you contributed unequal shares to the mortgage or the deposit you should speak to a solicitor. 

Home owned as tenants in common

Tenants in common will own an amount of the property equal to the shares they own in it. If you didn't set out the shares when you bought the house, you will get 50% of the house. If a 50/50 split isn't fair because of what you contributed you can either negotiate a deal or go to court. If you go to court you will have to show that you had an agreement that you have unequal shares.

Domestic violence

If you've split up because your partner was physically or mentally abusing you, a judge at court may be able to 

  • give you possession of your home for 12 months
  • stop the violent person from coming near your home
  • stop the violent person from harassing you

Domestic violence and abuse has a massive and ongoing effect on people.  If you've been in this situation you should talk to a specialist who can give you advice on your options. Contact Women's Aid or a solicitor .