Leaving the home

If you’re thinking about leaving your home, it’s important to work out where you’re going first. You should also think about protecting any interest you might have in the home, in case you ever want to return to it.

Short-term options

The best option if you’re keen to leave the home quickly is to stay with family or friends.

If you are at risk of violence or abuse and have nowhere to go and need to leave immediately, you can contact Welsh Women’s Aid or the Men’s Advice Line, or go to your local council.

An adviser at your local council should be able to explain your options, or get help from Shelter Cymru. You can make a homelessness application to the council – you might be eligible for emergency housing whilst they decide what other help they can provide. The council might have schemes to help you find private rented housing or might be able to give you advice and help about getting back in your home if appropriate.

Long-term options

At the same time you’re thinking about your short-term housing options, you should also keep in mind the longer-term plan. The various options are outlined below.  For more information visit our finding a place to live pages.

Community landlord accommodation

You can explore your housing options by talking to a housing adviser at your local council. They should be able to help you apply to get on the waiting list for a permanent community landlord home.

If you need housing immediately you should tell the council you wish to make a homelessness application. The council might have a duty under the homelessness laws to help you get back home or, if more appropriate, help you find somewhere else to live. This could be a private rented place, or, in some cases, a community landlord place.  See our pages on homelessness for more information about how the council may be able to help you.

Some housing associations take direct applications and are more flexible when making assessments.

Renting from a private landlord

If you can afford the rent in advance and deposit, it may be quicker to arrange privately rented housing. Some landlords ask for references, a credit check and/or a guarantor (someone who’ll agree to pay the rent if you get into arrears). Landlords and agencies will sometimes waive this if you have a lump sum and can pay for the occupation contract in advance.

Owning your home

If you have enough funds, you may wish to explore whether you can buy your own home by arranging a mortgage. It’s best to approach the main lenders, and to seek as much advice as possible. Some less well-known mortgage lenders apply very high interest rates (especially if you’ve had difficulty in obtaining a mortgage through a main lender).

Protecting your interest in your home

If you do want to leave the home, it is worth thinking about what might happen to it when you leave. If your partner owns the home and they try to sell it, you will want to make sure you get any proceeds you’re entitled to. If the property is not sold and your partner remains living there, you may want them to pay you money for your financial share in the property. This could be especially important if you need money for setting up your new home. You should get advice from a family law solicitor on this type of problem. You may be eligible for free advice, and you can check on the CLA Direct website.

If you are renting your home as a sole contract-holder and leave permanently without giving notice to end the contract, your landlord could use the abandonment procedure to end the contract. If you and your partner are joint contract-holders and you want to stay in or return to the home, see our advice about joint contract-holders here .

Rights to return to the home

If you think you may want to return to the home after you’ve left it, you should find out what rights you have to return.

Married or in a civil partnership

If you are married or in a civil partnership with the owner or contract-holder of the home, you may have the right to return after you’ve left. If your partner tries to prevent you from coming back, you can apply for an occupation order through the courts to enforce your rights. If you are a joint owner or contract-holder then you have the right to return after you leave, unless you’ve had an occupation order taken out against you.

I am living with someone (cohabiting)

If you are living with someone and you are either the owner or the contract-holder, or you have established a beneficial interest in the home, you may have the right to go back to it. If your former partner tries to prevent you from returning, you can apply for an occupation order through the courts to enforce your rights. If you are a joint owner or contract-holder then you have the right to return after you leave.

If you are cohabiting but not an owner, contract-holder, or someone with beneficial interest, you may still be able to apply for an occupation order, which could give you the right to return to your home and stay on a short-term basis.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: Mehefin 1, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.