Civil partnerships

Civil partnerships gives couples who aren’t married the same rights and responsibilities as people who are married. Civil partnerships are available to both same-sexcouples and opposite-sex couples.

Forming a civil partnership can affect your entitlement to benefits. Contact a local advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, if you are unsure what benefits you are entitled to.

You can form a civil partnership with your partner if:

  • neither of you are already married or in another civil partnership
  • you are both aged over 18 (if you were 16 or 17 and registered your civil partnership before 27 February 2023, it’s still valid).
  • you have both lived in the same area in England or Wales for at least seven days
  • you are not close blood relatives

Splitting up with your partner

Civil partnerships can affect your right to stay in your home if your relationship breaks down. Civil partners who break up have the same rights as people who are married who break up. Look at families and relationships for more information on your rights if you are splitting up with a partner.

Staying in the home if your partner dies

If you rent from a community landlord and your civil partner dies and they are the sole contract-holder, you will probably be able to inherit the contract (a process is known as ‘succession’). You can find out about succession rules here.

If you rent from a private landlord you can also succeed to an occupation contract if your civil partner dies and they are the  sole contract-holder. However, there is less long-term security when renting on a standard contract from a private landlord. They may decide to end the contract and usually do not need to give a reason to the court. See our eviction by a private landlord pages for more information.

If you don’t know what type of renting agreement you have, take a look at our Renting advice pages.

Get help if you are in this situation and your landlord has informed you that you are not entitled to succeed to the contract, or are trying to evict you.

Passing on my occupation contract during my lifetime

This process is known as ‘transfer to a potential successor’ but is often referred to as ‘assignment’. If you have a secure contract this can be transferred to someone who would be entitled to inherit (or ‘succeed’) to the contract if a sole or joint contract-holder dies. A ciivil partner has the right to succeed to an occupation contract, unless there the succession rules prevent it for another reason. This also applies to married couples and to someone who lives with the contract-holder as if they were married or in a civil partnership.

You can find out about succession rules here.

What about my benefits?

Civil partners are assessed in the same way as married couples. If you are currently claiming as a single person you may have to file a new claim as a couple. Contact your local benefits agency for more information if you are unsure.

Housing benefit/council tax benefit

If you are living as a same-sex couple your housing benefit could be affected, even if you haven’t formed a civil partnership. Only one person can make a claim for housing benefit and the resources of the other will be taken into account when working out your housing benefit.

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: June 2, 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.