Right of residence after termination of cohabitation?

Published by: Rebecca Weisz-Hertsworm posted on 8 December 2021 reading time

Who has more residential rights after the end of the cohabitation?

If you live together and share a household, this is called cohabitation. It may be desirable to make verbal or written agreements. In practice, this does not always happen. This does not have to cause problems, but it can lead to problems if the relationship ends and communication is less smooth. I experienced this again recently in interim injunction proceedings because the partner of my client did not want to leave the house. The man did not want to leave and invoked a right to live after the union.

In this blog, I will discuss the problems regarding the house if no cohabitation agreement has been concluded.

Contractual rights and obligations

You can live together in a rented or in an owner-occupied house. De facto cohabitation does not normally create any contractual rights and obligations. The termination of the relationship does not entail a change of tenancy or ownership rights either. The person who is not a tenant or owner will have to leave the property at the end of the relationship.

If you want to rent or buy together, you will have to record this in writing. Renting or owning a house together brings with it rights and obligations. For example, you both have the right to occupy the property and both have the obligation to contribute to the expenses. If a relationship ends, one of you cannot force the other to leave the property. You will therefore have to make agreements about this or leave the decision to the courts.

Fairness and reasonableness

Whether you are a tenant/owner together or not, cohabitants also have rights and obligations, both during and after cohabitation. These rights and duties arise from reasonableness and fairness, the unwritten law. What is reasonable and what is fair can vary from situation to situation. In general, it is not considered reasonable and fair to deny the other person access to the residence without giving them a reasonable period of time to find other accommodation. Here too, if you cannot reach an agreement together, ask the court for a decision, for example, an eviction order, a denial of access to the property or the de-registration of the address in the municipal personal records database.

Want to know more? Feel free to contact our family law specialists.