Senior Director at Carr & Co Solicitors Valerie Wormald answers your legal questions. Today we have a question from a young lady who is worried what her legal rights are if she moves in with her boyfriend.
I’m 25 and my boyfriend has just asked me to move in with him after just four months of going out together. I don’t own a property and I’ll be paying rent to him but I wondered, is this too soon to move in together and also what are my legal rights if we split up? My friends think it’s too early to commit but I really love him!
While I am pleased to see you are so happy please do not let your heart rule your head! Moving in with someone is a big commitment and you must both discuss your respective intentions and also the practicalities of living together.
You will not acquire automatically any legal rights by just being together and even if you contribute to the household expenses this would not give you a claim on his home should you later separate unless this is clearly agreed between you.
You talk about paying rent to him. What does this include? Will you be expected to pay toward the utility bills or toward the mortgage and if so in what shares? By calling it rent implies very strongly that he has no intention of you acquiring any interest in his home either during your living together or on separation should things not work out.
I would advise that you consider entering into a written agreement known as a ‘Cohabitation Agreement’ once you have discussed matters with your boyfriend. This agreement will set out your intention at the time you commence co-habitation. It can be varied as the relationship goes on and you can also include what would happen if the relationship unfortunately did not work out.
By asking the questions at this stage will help you decide whether or not you are really ready to move in with your boyfriend and indeed if he is really ready for the same commitment. Failure to do so could lead to problems in the future should you split up and find yourself with no home, no furniture and nothing to show for your contributions.
If you are having similar issues contact us today on 0191 284 0363 to speak to a solicitor.