Q&As

A spouse has transferred the jointly held legal title of the matrimonial home to the sole name of the other spouse who has bought out their share. Can that spouse subsequently register a home rights notice on the same property? What is the position if they have no intention of occupying the property? Can the now sole owner spouse make an application for removal of the home rights notice in such circumstances?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 02/07/2020

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A spouse has transferred the jointly held legal title of the matrimonial home to the sole name of the other spouse who has bought out their share. Can that spouse subsequently register a home rights notice on the same property? What is the position if they have no intention of occupying the property? Can the now sole owner spouse make an application for removal of the home rights notice in such circumstances?
  • Removing the charge
  • Intention to occupy

Section 30 of the Family Law Act 1996 (FLA 1996) provides that where one spouse (or civil partner) has the right to occupy a dwelling-house, for example because they are the legal and beneficial owner as in the scenario of this question, the other spouse (or civil partner) has home rights. The non-owning spouse can protect those home rights by registering a charge with the Land Registry. Such a registration often does not indicate that the non-owning spouse actually intends to occupy the property, but rather is important protection for the non-owning spouse against third parties such as potential purchasers.

There are certain restrictions in respect of home rights. A non-owning spouse could not register home rights against a property that was at no time intended by the parties to be a matrimonial home (FLA 1996, s 30(7)), and home rights only continue so long as the marriage subsists (FLA 1996, s 30(8)) unless the court makes an order to extend the rights beyond the decree of divorce pursuant to FLA 1996, s 33(5). Home rights may only be protected in respect of one home at any one time (FLA 1996, Sch 4, para 2).

Removing the charge

The owning spouse may apply to cancel the registration of the home rights notice by the non-owning spouse by production of evidence that the non-owning spouse is dead, by

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