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Co-habiting couples making up share of first-time buyer market

A new report has shown that more than six in 10 first-time buyers are registering two or more names on a mortgage when buying property.

The study by Halifax demonstrates how first-time buyers – the numbers of whom remain higher than pre-pandemic levels despite an 11% drop over last year – are cohabiting in around 63% of cases.

The is concerning news to private client and family lawyers like ourselves who are often left handling the fallout of couples who cohabit without a cohabitation agreement in place. It is potentially a ticking time-bomb.

With these numbers on the rise it seems to make sense to give advice to help reduce cohabiting disputes.

Simply one party or more, in the case of multiple buyers, can potentially be left financially in a bad situation if there is a fallout without proper legal protection in place.

Having a living together agreement makes sense because there are real complexities surrounding the cost of repairs, bills, upkeep, and all manner of other issues.

For instance, if the mortgage is in one person’s name, but the co-habiting partner buys all the food, pays towards bills and other expenses, if they have an acrimonious split then the person who is not on the mortgage could leave empty-handed and potentially financially ruined.

The most vital part of such a living together agreement or declaration of trust is it is a ‘go to,’ document that can trigger the sale of the property if there is a split.

As both family and conveyancing solicitors in a wealthy part of the country, we are acutely aware of this issue and do our utmost to tell the story. Simply, there is a common-law myth around co-habiting that there is some kind of protection for the financially poorer partner who isn’t on the mortgage. This isn’t true and it is a message we shall continue to drive home.

If you need any help or advice around legal issues surrounding conveyancing or co-habiting issues, we at Dale and Newbery are happy to help. Contact us today.