How a pension should be divided depends upon its value, the age of the parties, the length of the marriage as well as the usual s.25 MCA factors. An adviser should consider the possibility of domestic abuse within a relationship. Creating a sole tenancy from a joint tenancy. The work should be compatible with her caring requirements. Further, if there was domestic abuse involved Bobby might also want to consider the option of applying for a non-molestation order. Check if you have a joint tenancy. Lorraine Charlton is a Debt Expert in the Expert Advice Team at Citizens Advice. The draft Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, proposes this change. Bobby is in an assured shorthold tenancy which is still within the fixed term. The financial consequences of a relationship breakdown must be considered. In the event of a joint tenancy, a landlord can at both tenants’ request agree to a change. where a relationship is breaking down, you should seek legal advice. They have some joint debts with council tax arrears of around £2,000, water and electricity arrears and each have some credit card debts. If Bobby’s husband and/or landlord won’t agree she won’t be able to surrender the tenancy. For Bobby, she has an assured shorthold tenancy which, once the fixed term has expired, does not offer her a significant amount of security as she can be evicted by a no-fault s.21 notice. If they do so it simply won’t be effective. However, for a joint tenancy agreement to be made, certain conditions must be met. An application for such a transfer should be made within the family proceedings. If Bobby’s total debts add up to no more than £20,000, any car that she owns is worth less than £1,000, other savings or assets are worth no more than £1,000 and she has no more than £50 per month surplus income, she can apply for a DRO. Bobby will need some advice about the implications of claiming UC as maintaining a UC claim is different from claiming tax credits. Housing and relationship breakdown If you rent your home If both your names are on the tenancy If you rent a property and both you and your partner have signed the tenancy agreement then you will be joint tenants. Otherwise the family courts will decide. It would also impact access to welfare benefits, debt management, and potential solutions were the victim a person subject to immigration control. The law around relationship breakdown is complex and every case is different. Tenants of housing associations have very similar rights to those of private tenants. They have all the rights, duties and responsibilities that by law a parent has in relation to their child. This could be that one party be responsible for a debt liability. In the latter scenario, for example, each co-owner can own a different percentage of interest in the property. If there is entitlement to any of these benefits it would help the family to manage financially. Bobby will need to find an approved intermediary to help her with a DRO application. If Bobby has higher surplus income and or a lump sum to offer (she might have sold an asset or family might have stepped into help) then she could opt for an IVA. To continue to afford to pay her rent Bobby will need to obtain financial help with her housing costs. This does not apply if there are exceptional circumstances, for example there has been domestic abuse. Your agreement may say you can give notice if you need to move out early. Joint owners and tenants. Normally this outcome can only be achieved by: It’s also important to note that where the parties are married or are civil partners even steps are taken to get the tenancy placed into one sole name the spouse or partner who has left the property will still retain home rights (under s.30 Family Law Act 1996) which would allow them to return to occupy the former matrimonial home until the marriage or civil partnership has ended (unless the court orders otherwise). If Bobby does not qualify for a DRO or a DRO is not suitable, for example because of unknown debts, bankruptcy is an option. you alternative accommodation, unless you can argue that you have occasional Once she has stabilised her income and her housing situation she will be able to draw up a budget and work out if she has any surplus income to pay her debts. This is known as joint and several liability. The minimum income floor in Universal Credit — what is it, and when does it apply? Bobby needs to act quickly to ask for a freeze on the joint account if she suspects that her husband will run up further debt. This would be under the rules of intestacy if she does not have an existing will. The first is that her husband has committed adultery and she finds it intolerable to live with him. All of Bobby’s known debts would be covered by a DRO and she will be released from liability for them after 12 months, as long as her situation has not improved in that time. If Bobby has given away any property or paid one creditor in preference to another within two years of a DRO application the application might be declined. This is a free adviser service. It should be noted that a transfer of the tenancy is one of the property adjustment orders that the court can make under MCA 1973. risk of eviction, are far more severe for the person remaining in the property than one who has moved out. If Bobby does want to take court action she’ll need to make sure that the tenancy still exists by the time she comes to apply to the court for a transfer. As most working age claimants can no longer make a new claim for housing benefit Bobby will need to claim help with her housing costs through UC. Property rights of cohabiting couples relating to buying a home, private rented accommodation, local authority housing, and the Family Home Protection Act. home. Joint tenancy agreements can be entered into by nearly anyone: Married or unmarried couples, family members, investment partners or friends. It is unlikely to be enforceable in court on these issues should the agreement later break down. Where are they going to live and what should the contact arrangements be? By virtue of the Matrimonial Causes Act s.1(1)-(2) 1973 (MCA) Bobby will have to show the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Who retains that asset will depend upon needs, for example does the husband require it for work, or does Bobby need it to transport the children? Radmacher (formerly Granatino) v Granatino  UKSC 42,  2 FLR 1900, occupation orders and non-molestation orders on Advisernet, there is further information on Advisernet about the options for periodic assured shorthold tenants, Joint tenancies and fixed terms: notice to quit, para 5 of Schedule 7 of Family Law Act 1996, para 4(1) of Schedule 1 of Children Act 1989. The type of tenancy a client has is also a practical consideration when deciding what to do about their tenancy — some tenancies give more protection than others. My tenants have had a relationship breakdown and both wish to go their separate ways and are dealing with things amicably as they have young children. Local housing allowance rates, which are used to calculate the amount of UC housing costs, are lower than most market rents. Break clauses. There is also work allowance included in the UC calculation for claimants with dependent children. One of the first issues to consider is whether Bobby is ready to proceed with a divorce. This is a popular choice where a property is being purchased together with a relative or someone you’re in a relationship … When is an employer liable for other people’s discrimination against its employees? The court can distribute these assets to try to balance the needs and resources of the parties. The divorce process usually takes 4–6 months to become final (known as the Decree Absolute). separation, divorce or dissolution, apply She should also check to see if her local education authority might help with some other school costs, for example learning a musical instrument. She is classed as an ‘entitled person’ as she has rights under housing law (as a joint tenant) to reside in the property. electricity payments go directly to the supplier), there is a genuine dispute over arrears owed. A holding letter should be sent to the credit card companies. In order to claim UC a claimant has to sign a claimant commitment. It will help if she can show that she can afford the rent based on her own income. It offers a “solicitor check” of the paperwork run by RCJAdvice, a Citizens Advice service. If you have a joint tenancy and your relationship with your joint tenant has broken down and he/she has left the home, you will probably want his/her name removed from the tenancy agreement with the local authority or housing association. Remember an attendance at a MIAM is required prior to a court application unless exceptions apply. As Bobby has a child under three, her work-related activity for UC is restricted to attending a work focused interview and making preparations for work. Further guidance for Citizens Advice advisers can be found here. If her husband has a 2nd card on any of her accounts she needs to contact the credit card company urgently to get a stop put on the card. Periodical Payments Order for any children (if made by agreement); Secured Periodical Payments Order for any children (if made by agreement); and, it is in joint names or in the sole name of one person, they are married/civil partners or cohabitees, Assignment of the tenancy from joint names to one sole name (note — this would not be possible if Bobby and her husband were joint secure tenants of council housing — see, End the current tenancy (via a surrender or by notice to quit, if possible) and agreed with the landlord to re-grant the tenancy to one sole name, Applying to court for an order to transfer the tenancy to one sole name, pursued for any arrears as a debt in the normal way, excluded or suspended from bidding on the housing register for having housing-related arrears (local policy depending). The joint tenancy can be transferred to one of the spouses under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Family Law Act 1996 or Children Act 1989. Joint Tenancy: A type of property right where two or more people own or rent a property together, each with equal rights and obligations, until one … Further information can be found on Advisernet. Bobby will not be entitled to legal aid for a divorce unless she can evidence that there has been domestic violence in the relationship. ... your rights to live in the accommodation after the separation of you and your partner depend on your relationship status. They are set out in s.25 of Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, para 5 of Schedule 7 of Family Law Act 1996 and s.15 and para 4(1) of Schedule 1 of Children Act 1989 respectively. breakdown, where one party to a joint tenancy wishes to have the tenancy put in their sole name. Dependent upon the terms, it can also record a clean break between the parties. It’s also important to note that it’s not always possible or preferable to get the tenancy into the sole name of the partner who has remained. If Bobby moves from child tax credits to universal credit, formal spousal maintenance will reduce UC received pound for pound. And many, many variations on this – “my ex is on the tenancy agreement, can he get the tenancy”, “who gets the council tenancy if I separate”. The Family Procedure Rules 2010 Pt 3 require the parties to attend a MIAM before commencing an application to the family court in respect of children or finances. If you have a question about this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm). If you are in a situation It may be possible to reach an agreement either directly between the parties or via mediation. The parties should consider mediation if they are in difficulty reaching an agreement. judicial If Bobby does seek a share of her husband’s pension this will have to be incorporated within a court order. A full benefits check will identify if Bobby has any further benefit entitlement. ... transfer the lease It is possible that a court order is transferred to another tenant through a single tenancy agreement, or transfers a common rent solely to a tenant`s name. A relationship breakdown can have a major impact on the client and their family. Relationship breakdown — what you need to know, One size fits all? If the supplier insists on installing a pre-payment meter Bobby can challenge this if she can show that: Bobby should enquire about a warm home discount which will reduce her bill by £140 if she qualifies. If Bobby has a deficit budget she can ask for a discretionary council tax reduction under section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act. custody of your children and need somewhere for them to stay. Severance is the way in which a joint tenancy may be converted into a tenancy in common. As stated above, Bobby will need to consider whether it is actually worth taking court action given that she has an assured shorthold tenancy which could be ended fairly easily once her fixed term ends. If she has a 2nd card on any of her husband’s accounts she will not be liable for repaying the balance on these. If it were retained by the husband there would be an argument that Bobby should receive a lump sum payment in respect of her interest. Bobby should try to reach an agreement with her husband first but she can use the child maintenance calculator on GOV.UK for guidance as to her entitlement (see Debt and Money section for further information). If she knows her husband’s earnings Bobby can find out how much child maintenance she can expect by using the online calculator. She wants to know what her rights are. Furthermore, one joint tenant can give notice to end the tenancy without the consent of the other. Relationship breakdown; Struggling to pay your rent or Mortgage; Bobby and her husband have decided to separate. As a result of the marriage, both parents will have parental responsibility for the children under the Children Act 1989 (“CA 1989”). joint tenancy. It’s important that if an agreement is reached to assign the tenancy that this is made by deed which must be writing, signed ‘as a deed’ and witnessed. If Bobby is providing care for a disabled person she might be able to receive the carers element in UC. of the tenancy (unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise). Advisers should consider whether Bobby is then likely to improve her position via this route. Where a departed tenant refuses to make any contribution towards the rent, it would be advisable for the remaining tenant to pay the rent if they can afford to do so (at least in the short-term). The other particularly relevant consideration is where the client’s tenancy does not provide them with much long term security, such as an assured shorthold tenancy, as opposed to a secure or assured tenancy with the council or a housing association. The government has announced that this bill will be reintroduced into the new parliamentary session, however it may be some time before this comes into effect. Find a Citizens Information Centre in your area: If you have a joint tenancy and your relationship with your joint tenant has Note that this may be subject to finance and will have associated running costs. The water company should be contacted and a payment arrangement made, since although this is a non priority debt (they do not have the power to disconnect) she will want to stop them from getting a judgment and transferring this to the high court for enforcement. It's a good idea to discuss your plans with the other tenants if you want to leave. Bobby can also now apply herself online for the divorce via GOV.UK. If one tenant ends this type of joint agreement none of the other tenants can stay in the property without the landlord's permission. Joint tenants can resolve their dispute by either: selling to a third party, or However, if they moved in and her husband signed a new contract for supply, he might be liable and not Bobby. to the local authority for accommodation, Your rights as a housing association tenant. If there is a break clause in the tenancy which says explicitly that it can be exercised by one of the joint tenants then it might be possible for her to end the tenancy that way, although this is untested in the law. One of the factors considered in a judicial Advisers can find further information about mediation on Advisernet. One option for Bobby would be to get a lodger but this could impact her tenancy and other benefits. In this case study Bobby and her husband are both British citizens, however if this was not the case it would be important to check: Djamilla Hitchins is an Immigration Expert in the Expert Advice Team at Citizens Advice. You will need to check what stage of recovery this is at. As such, the only way in which it can be dealt with unilaterally is for a joint tenant to act upon their notional share. Most private renters have this type of tenancy. This can be about all issues including the divorce, the children and the finances. We are aware that a breakdown of a marriage or other close personal relationship can lead to a number of housing problems. Bobby could then use this towards the liabilities. When Bobby’s youngest child is three she will be subject to all work requirements. With a DMP Bobby could end up repaying for many years depending on her debt total. As Bobby’s tax credit claim is going to come to an end, she will need to make a new claim for benefits as she doesn’t have any other income, except for child benefit. Once an assessment has been made Bobby can ask her husband to set up direct payments to her but if he won’t agree to pay her directly she can apply to use the CMS collection service. Bobby and her husband are ‘joint and severally’ liable for payment of the whole rent. a) Where both tenants are in agreement Even if financial matters are agreed it is preferable in any event to have them confirmed by the court within an order. Bobby’s council tax and electricity arrears are both priority debts and so must be dealt with first. If a tenant in common dies, their interest in … In the case of Radmacher (formerly Granatino) v Granatino  UKSC 42,  2 FLR 1900 , the Supreme Court said terms of agreement must be “fair”. Joint tenancy is an arrangement that allows beneficiaries to access your account without having to go to court. If Bobby is able to end the tenancy by surrender or by exercising a break clause (if that is possible) then it’s important that she gets the landlord’s agreement that she will be re-granted a tenancy in her sole name before she takes steps to end the original tenancy. There is an overdraft on the joint account and they have some joint debts. From early 2021 the new statutory Breathing Space scheme will be available which will give Bobby 60 days to sort out her income and consider her options. It’s a common misconception that a landlord can simply ‘take a joint tenant’s name off’ the tenancy. Is anyone in the family missing out on any benefit entitlement? Child maintenance is not usually dealt with by the family court. ... terminate the tenancy agreement and grant him a new single tenancy agreement. Even if one tenant leaves the property s/he will still be jointly and severally liable for all rent arrears and other charges while the joint tenancy exists. Bobby should contact the council to explain that she and her husband have separated and ask for any recovery action to be put on hold. She could however rely on the separation agreement in divorce proceedings about other financial matters, for example what happens to the house. Bobby will then need to open a new bank account to have her benefits and or wages paid into it. If things are amicable with her ex she could try reaching a family based arrangement as this does not involve any fees. Due to the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) she will not be able to make a new claim for tax credits and she will have to claim UC. This does not extend to maintenance for any children. As she is continuing to be the main carer for the children the claim for child benefit can continue. Once one joint tenant has served a valid notice to quit, it cannot be set aside by the court (Newton Housing Trust v Alsulaimen  1 AC 313). She should also claim council tax rebate from her local authority for a further means-tested reduction. If your relationship is breaking down, you can still apply for an injunction as above but it may also be practical to talk to your landlord and ask them to let you know if your partner attempts to end the tenancy. If it does she could speak to her husband to see if he will agree to do this. If she had moved beyond the fixed term into a periodic assured shorthold tenancy different rules apply — there is further information on Advisernet about the options for periodic assured shorthold tenants. This will ensure the agreement is properly recorded. It should also be noted that if the transfer is made under the Family Law Act 1996 the court can order compensation to be paid to the spouse or civil partner losing the benefit of their home. If you are joint tenants, you may be able to remove their name from the tenancy agreement and get the tenancy transferred into your name only. The agreement can provide clarity about child arrangements or maintenance. If either of the children have a disability Bobby might be able to claim disability living allowance for them. The rules that private landlords and housing associations must comply with when ending a residential tenancy. Rights of a Joint Tenant. Bobby should be told that if she gets a DRO she will have a duty to tell the insolvency service if her income goes up or she receives any property during the 12 months of the order, and if this is the case the DRO could be revoked. If two or more people acquire a property together, it can be either as tenants in common or as joint tenants. You will need to advise Bobby that a DRO in her name will appear on a public insolvency register and could have a lasting impact on her credit rating. She could apply to the court for an occupation order to if she has been excluded and needs to regain entry to the property or if she wants to exclude her husband from the property. Sometimes it can be difficult to work out what is the Relationship breakdown If a joint tenant wants to end your tenancy without your agreement by giving notice to quit, you can ask the court for an injunction With regard to the joint debts, it is not possible for the court to order one party to take responsibility for payment to a third party creditor. This may mean there has to be a departure from an equal sharing of the assets. A joint tenancy means that all of the tenants named on the tenancy agreement are jointly and solely liable for the rent. illness or disability means that she and her children would be at significant risk if the supply was disconnected (that is in the case of self-disconnection), she cannot access the meter or top it up (but the supplier can relocate the meter if feasible or enable online top-ups), she’ll qualify for third-party deductions from benefits (i.e. housing association may consider that your house is too big for you and offer Rachel Ingleby is a Benefits Expert in the Expert Advice Team at Citizens Advice. There is a risk that the landlord will refuse consent if they don’t think that Bobby can afford the rent on her own. For a surrender to be effective the agreement of all parties is required (i.e. Joint Tenancy Agreement Relationship Breakdown. Mediation is often a cost effective way for separating couples to reach an agreement. If the person behaving violently is the tenant, we will take action to evict them for a serious breach of their tenancy agreement. She and her husband have a joint tenancy of a 3-bedroomed privately rented property. The minimum income floor in Universal Credit — how does it affect a Universal Credit award? Your housing rights will depend on: n Whose name is the tenancy in – is it a sole tenancy or a joint tenancy? The alternative is that he has behaved in a way that means she cannot be reasonably expected to live with him. If there has been domestic abuse or there is a threat of domestic violence and Bobby has had to move in order to stay safe, she can apply for a court order to prevent her new address from appearing on the public insolvency register if she wants to apply for either bankruptcy, a DRO or an IVA. Joint tenants. She will only be able to get the tenancy assigned to her if her tenancy allows this. Bankruptcy will cover all of her debts — known and unknown and she will be released from liability from them after 12 months. One significant issue relating to ownership of property which occurs on relationship breakdown is the question of whether or not the property is registered as a joint tenancy or has a tenancy in common. n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real property, which provides that each party owns an undivided interest in the entire parcel, with both having the right to use all of it and the right of survivorship, which means that upon the death of one joint tenant, the other has title to it all. You will need to advise Bobby that, as for a DRO, a bankruptcy order in her name would appear on a public insolvency register and is likely to have a lasting impact on her credit rating. Should the husband not agree, the court can make an order for periodical payments from him to the wife. local authority or housing For an application for a transfer of the tenancy the client may need the assistance of a solicitor. If she remains on benefits she won’t be expected to make any payments from her income into the bankruptcy but if she starts getting maintenance or finds a job within 12 months of the bankruptcy order and is assessed as having £20 or more a month surplus income she will need to pay into the bankruptcy for three years. Such an application to the court usually outside of the scope of legal aid unless there is domestic abuse involved. If they cannot agree a family based arrangement or if he fails to pay what was agreed Bobby can choose to pay a one off £20 fee to apply to the child maintenance service (CMS) for a child maintenance assessment to be made (the £20 fee can be waived if there has been domestic violence). Her husband works full time. Find out how to end a joint assured shorthold tenancy. If she receives any payment of child maintenance this will be disregarded as income for UC. As with a DRO the bankruptcy order will only cover Bobby’s debts and her husband will be left responsible for any joint debts. It is likely that the children would continue to live with Bobby, however the court could order regular contact including overnight contact with her husband. If Bobby is not able to reach an agreement with her husband for payment of the debts and make a legally enforceable consent order within the divorce (see family section above) she will need to consider other potential solutions. Start by checking who signed the contract for the electricity supply. Rachael Gore is a Housing Expert in the Expert Advice Team at Citizens Advice. They may be able to, If either Bobby or her husband are subject to immigration control then their eligibility for benefits needs to be checked and will depend on their status and, If either Bobby or her husband are subject to immigration control then their. See the Family Mediation Council website for further details. Joint tenants vs tenants in common – pros and cons . There would be consideration of the parties income and outgoings. In practice, these agreements can be hard to enforce. Will either member of the couple need to make a new benefit claim following the relationship breakdown? Agree that one of the tenants can be replaced. There is a five week wait for a first UC payment, so she should also apply for an advance payment when she makes her claim. Alternatively, the tenant who has left might find it difficult to secure rehousing if they are already a joint tenant of another property –in these circumstances they often ask for their names to be removed from joint tenancy agreements. If you’re letting property in Southend, you may at some point find yourself in a situation where two people with a joint tenancy agreement decide to go their separate ways before the end of the contract. It is really important to take steps to deal with affordability and to make the necessary benefits and child maintenance claims, because there is ultimately a risk of eviction should arrears accrue. Tenancies that are not fixed term run from period to period, eg week to week. If not agreed, Bobby can make an application to the court under the Children Act s.8 for a Child Arrangements order. Issues relating to the children and finances could take longer to resolve. She would need to make an offer to pay a small amount each month and this can be limited to 3 years after which her liability for the balance will be written off. Joint Tenancy agreement is a legal agreement between the landlord and all his tenants. Both parties have an obligation to each other, to the Mediation process, and to the Court, to provide a full and frank disclosure of their financial affairs. Your client may need advice about their rights in relation to the separation itself, their housing options, what benefits they might be able to claim and how to deal with any debts. If she managed to get through to the end of the IVA term she would be released from any unpaid balance. It is an assured shorthold tenancy and they are 4 months into a 12 month fixed term. She also needs to read the term of the tenancy carefully to see if she needs to get her landlord’s consent to assign, and then consider approaching the landlord to get that consent. 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