Living with family

Living with family members does not always run smoothly. We look at some of the issues that can be raised below.

If you are under 25, take a look at our Advice for Young People page – it has lots of information and tips to help you deal with issues that might come up when you live with family members. It also has a Support Near You search tool to find organisations that can help you.

If you live with a person who is not a member of your family, visit our advice page on sharing and subletting.

Living with your parents

As you grow up, it’s only natural that you won’t always see eye to eye with your parents or guardians.

If you are under 25, our advice page for young people has lots of ideas to help you improve your relationship with your parents.

If you are over 25, some of the following ideas could help:

Set some ground rules
Try to negotiate rather than argue, and be prepared to compromise. If your family member if particularly adamant about certain points, ask them why, rather than arguing about it, and listen to their reasoning.

Talk it through
If you have a problem with the way your family members are treating you, talk to them about it. They may not even realise they’re upsetting you. If you are angry, wait until you’ve calmed down, then discuss things rationally later on. Put forward your side of the story, then ask them to explain theirs.

Talk to someone else
If you’re having problems communicating with your family member, it may help to talk to someone else such as a sibling, an aunt or uncle or college tutor.

Get help from a mediation service
If you feel you need some ‘hands on’ help sorting things out with your family, you could contact a mediator. They don’t take sides, they don’t decide ‘who is right’ and they don’t tell you what to do. Instead, they help you work things out for yourselves.

What if I’m in danger?
If someone in your home is being violent or abusive towards you, you must get help immediately. If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.

You can also call:

For a list of organisations that offer advice and support to people experiencing domestic abuse, see here.

If you feel you have no choice but to leave your home, try to contact an adviser before you go and arrange some emergency housing in advance.

Living with your partner: things to consider

Moving in with a partner, spouse, or civil partner is a big step.

Things to think about before moving in together
Things you will need to think about will vary depending on your age and other personal circumstances. Download our checklist of things to think about before taking the plunge. Read it with your partner.

It’s a good idea to draw up a list of each other’s responsibilities. This could include details of, for example:

  • how you will divide up and pay the rent or mortgage and household bills
  • childcare arrangements
  • what rights you each have to stay in the home if you split up (this will also depend on whether you are a joint or sole homeowner/renter – see here for more details)
  • what rights you will have to any shared belongings (for example, furniture or a car) if you split up.

The list will not be legally binding but it will be a good indication of your intentions if anything goes wrong in the future.

You may wish to open a joint account to set aside money for the rent or mortgage, and other regular bills.

If either of you are claiming benefits, the amount of benefit you receive will be affected if you move in together, as your partner’s income will be taken into account when calculating the benefits.

You must report changes like this to the relevant agency as soon as possible. You may have to pay money back if you are overpaid benefits or you may be prosecuted for fraud.

I live with my partner in a rented home : what are my rights?

If you live in rented accommodation together, your rights will depend on:

  • the type of renting agreement you have. See our advice about Renting if you are unsure.
  • whose name the occupation contract is in
  • whether you are married/civil partners or not.

Joint contract-holders
If you have a joint occupation contract with your partner, you both have the same rights and responsibilities. You are both equally responsible for paying the rent and keeping to the terms of the contract. If one of you can’t pay your share, the other will be responsible for paying the whole of the rent. This will be the case whether you are married/civil partners or not.

Sole contract-holder
Either you or your partner are likely to be a sole contract-holder if you have moved in with them, or if they have moved in with you.

Most occupation contracts give you the right to live in the property together with your partner. However, it is best to check the occupation contract and speak to the landlord if you are planning to move in together. You may also want to ask the landlord to grant a joint contract, which will give both partners equal rights.

If you are not married, then the person whose name is not on the occupation contract will be an excluded occupier, and will have very few rights.

If you are married, your rights will be stronger (you will, for example, have the right to stay in the property until the court says you should leave, pay rent and get repairs done).

Separate occupation contracts
If you live together as a couple, you are unlikely to have separate occupation contracts. If you do, you will only be responsible for paying your share of the rent.

I live with my partner in an owner occupied home : what are my rights?

If you and your partner live in accommodation that one of you owns, your rights will depend upon:

  • who owns the home
  • whether you are married/civil partners or not.

Joint owners
If you are joint owners, you will be both be responsible for paying the mortgage.  If one of you cannot pay your share, the other will be responsible for paying the whole mortgage. This is the case even if one of you is not living at the property. You will both be responsible for any other payments towards the home, such as council tax, utility bills, and repairs or improvements.

In addition, one partner cannot:

  • force the other partner to leave without a court order
  • rent out or sell the home without the other partner’s agreement or a court order
  • take out a loan against the property without the other partner’s agreement
  • alter the terms of the mortgage without the other partner’s permission.

Sole owner
If one of you owns your home, only the owner will be responsible for paying the mortgage, unless you have a joint mortgage.

If you are married or in a civil partnership, the non-owner has a right to occupy the home, unless a court has ordered that they must be excluded.

The non-owner also has a right to make payments towards the mortgage, for example, if the owner moves out or stops paying. However, the non-owner cannot be held responsible for missed payments unless the court has ordered that they make payments.

Neither of you can:

  • force the other to leave without a court order
  • rent out or sell the property without getting the other’s agreement or a court order
  • take out a loan against the property without the other’s agreement.

If you are not married or in a civil partnership, the non-owner can choose to make contributions towards the mortgage or the running of the home. However, this does not mean that the non-owner will be entitled to a financial share of the home, unless you have a legal agreement that says that they will.

In addition, the owner may be able to:

  • evict the other person without getting a court order
  • rent or sell out the home without the other’s agreement
  • take out a loan against the property without the other’s consent.

Where can I get more information?

See the relationship breakdown section for more information about your housing rights if you’re splitting up with your partner.

Advice Now’s Living Together website gives more information about your rights if you live with your partner, and has a Living Together Agreement that you can download.

Leaving home in a hurry factsheet

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: May 20, 2024

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.