A transfer of tenancy is a kind of court order that changes the names of the people who are renting the property. It means that when a pair breaks up, the court could decide that the person who stays in the family home should be the only one who pays rent.
It’s important that the only person on the lease is the person who lives in the house. This is because it gives them rights and keeps their ex-spouse from trying to kick them off the land. It also makes sure that the person who used to live in the property is no longer responsible for paying rent or meeting other terms of the lease.
Part VII of the Family Law Act 1996 (which we’ll call the Family Law Act for the rest of this guide) lets people ask for a transfer of tenancy.
Who can apply?
You can only apply if you lived in the home as a married couple, a civil partner, or a cohabiting couple (a couple that is not married). If you were living as a married or civil partnership couple then there are extra rules on when you can apply.
civil partnership or married.
Before you can ask for a transfer of tenancy under the Family Law Act, you must have started divorce, dissolution, nullity, or judicial separation proceedings. After the court has given the decree nisi as part of a divorce, dissolution, or nullity proceeding, or after the court has made a decree of judicial separation, an order can be made to move a tenancy from your spouse’s name or joint names into your name. A decree nisi is an order that is made at a certain point in the process of divorce, separation, or nullity.
How to Apply
If you want to ask for a non-molestation order, an occupation order, and a tenancy transfer at the same time, you can do all of this on the FL401 form. If not, you will need to fill out a Form D50B and write a statement from a witness to back up your application. In your message, you must include the following:
Who the owner is and what kind of rental it is.
- What type of tenancy it is and who the landlord is
- That both you and the other party, or just the other party, is entitled to occupy the property because the tenancy names both of you, or just the other party as the tenant
- The circumstances in which the tenancy was granted to both of you, or to the other party, or how he or
both of you became tenants under the tenancy
- That you and the other party lived in the property as spouses (if you are married) or civil partners (if you are in a civil partnership) or cohabitees, and for how long
- Both of your housing needs (for example, you have two children and need a property with at least two
bedrooms near their school, the respondent has no dependents and needs one bedroom near his place of
- Both of your housing resources (for example, both of your financial resources, ability to rent elsewhere, other properties either of you own or rent)
- The effect that making an order, or not making an order, will have on you, the other party and any children.
If you and your ex-partner were not married but lived together and your ex-partner is the only tenant on the lease, your accounts should also include information on:
- The nature of your relationship (in particular, the level of commitment to each other)
- How long you lived together
- Whether you or your ex-partner have any children (either together or from
other relationships) or whether either of you have parental responsibility for
- The length of time since you and your ex-partner stopped living together
- Your suitability as a tenant, for example, if the rent and bills have always been paid by your partner,
how will you afford to pay them
- Your ex-partner’s suitability as a tenant
The things we told you to talk about in your witness statement are the things the court has to think about when choosing whether to order the tenancy to be moved.
Once you’ve filled out the form and the witness statement, you should either bring them to court or mail them to the court.
A court fee must be paid. If you get benefits or have a low income, you may be able to get out of paying this fee by filling out a form EX160.
The court will look over the application and let you know when the application will be heard. The court will also send a copy of your application form and statement to your ex-partner (who will be called the respondent) and the owner of the property. Sometimes the court will tell you to send the papers to the respondent and owner. If that happens, the court will tell you what to do next.
Transferring tenancies for the benefit of children
If you and the other person have children under 18 years old, you may be able to apply to move a tenancy into your name for the benefit of the children. The law about these kinds of requests is in section 15 and schedule 1 of the Children Act of 1989. These forms don’t come up very often, but you might need one if you are married but not getting a divorce. If you need more help with these forms, talk to a lawyer or a legal advice and support group.
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