Occupation of the family home—cohabitants
Occupation of the family home—cohabitants

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Occupation of the family home—cohabitants
  • Occupation orders—right to apply and orders that may be made
  • Occupation orders—procedure
  • Occupation orders—provisions for repairs and payment of outgoings
  • Tenancies
  • Licences to occupy

Cohabitants have more limited rights of occupation than spouses, civil partners and former spouses and civil partners. The relevant legislation is the Family Law Act 1996 (FLA 1996), as amended by section 58(1) of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (DVCVA 2004) and section 82 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004). See also Miller Smith v Miller Smith regarding an application for an occupation order under FLA 1996 and the interaction with an application under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and for financial provision under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Occupation orders—right to apply and orders that may be made

An occupation order is an order under FLA 1996 conferring, declaring, restricting or regulating rights of occupation in the family home between parties who are in, or who have been in, certain categories of relationship.

Occupation orders can be made under five different sections of FLA 1996 detailing distinct sets of circumstances. The extent of the court’s powers depends on the eligibility of the applicant, their relationship with the respondent and the status of the dwelling-house. The factors that the court must consider differ in each category and it is important to note the subtle differences between each section.

It is therefore important that the application and order is made under the correct