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Explaining what the rights are of unmarried couples and what to do if you regret buying a house with your partner...

Buying a house with a partner is a huge commitment, not just to the relationship but financially as well. This explains why most 18–24-year-olds think that buying a house requires even more commitment than marriage.

But what happens if you take the ‘leap of faith’ and buy a house with your partner? What do you do if it ends up being a disaster and you’re left regretting everything?

Well, this is where we step in to help!

If you’ve ended up on this page as you’ve been frantically googling ‘I regret buying a house with my boyfriend, what do I do?!’ then you’re in safe hands!

We’re going to talk through what happens to a house if a couple split up, what the rights are of unmarried couples and what to do if you’re regretting buying the house with your partner and need some guidance.

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How long are couples together before buying a house?

When it comes to buying a house with your partner, there are no rules on the length of time you must wait. Every relationship is different, and each person will have a different opinion as to when they feel they’re ready to take the big step.

However, research from GoodMove found that 18–24-year-olds think buying and renting a house requires even more commitment than marriage and so on average Brits are waiting 2 years and 2 months.

In general, women also came out as slightly more hesitant than men when it came to committing to buying a house with their partner.

In terms of cities that are the most hesitant, here at the top 10 UK cities that wait the longest before buying:

  1. Cardiff (2 years, 6 months and 3 days)

  2. Belfast (2 years, 5 months and 27 days)

  3. Newcastle (2 years, 5 months and 12 days)

  4. Liverpool (2 years, 4 months and 27 days)

  5. Edinburgh (2 years, 4 months and 24 days)

  6. Norwich (2 years and 4 months)

  7. Leeds (2 years, 3 months and 6 days)

  8. Sheffield (2 years, 2 months and 21 days)

  9. Nottingham (2 years, 2 months and 3 days)

  10. Glasgow (2 years and 9 days)

What happens to a house if a couple split up?

What happens to a house if a couple split up will depend upon the type of ownership the couple have on the property.

When two people buy a house together, they have the option of entering into the ownership in two different ways – joint tenants or tenants in common.

Joint tenancy, which is more favoured by married couples, means that each person has equal rights to the property, regardless of whether one person has financially contributed more.

When a house is sold that is under joint tenancy, the equity is split 50:50. Each owner has a legal right to stay in the home and the property can’t be sold unless both joint tenants agree to the sale.

Tenants in common, which is favoured by family members or friends who are buying a house together, means that each person has a different share of the property and acts individually.

We advise it’s most sensible for you to purchase as tenants in common when buying with a partner to who you’re not married, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend.

When buying a house as tenants in common, it’s a good idea to draw up a ‘Declaration of Trust’ or a ‘Trust Deed’. This is a legal document that details the percentage share of equity owned by each party and also a method of how one party can buy out the other party, should that situation arise.

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What are the rights of unmarried couples?

As you may expect, unmarried couples’ rights are different in many different aspects when compared to married couples. For example, inheritance rights, property rights, spousal support and parenting responsibilities all differ and can be more complicated, as there’s legally nothing between the couple.

As we’ve mentioned with property rights, if there is a breakup then the property will be sold, and the proceeds will go to each person as per their shares in the property. Unlike in a divorce, courts are very reluctant to intervene.

Should the courts get involved, they may determine the shares of the two partners by looking at each of their financial contributions to the home and any expenses.

When it comes to inheritance rights, if one partner of an unmarried couple was to pass away without having written a will, the surviving partner doesn’t automatically inherit the deceased’s estate, as one would expect with a married couple.

Also in an unmarried couple, neither of the former partners is required to provide support to the other’s maintenance or financial well-being, which would be expected in the event of a breakup of a marriage.

Parenting responsibilities can become complex in the event of a breakup of an unmarried couple. As a general ‘rule of thumb’, responsibility for any children falls upon the mother, but the father can get joint responsibility providing both parents jointly register the child’s birth.

If the couple is amicable, then it’s best for all parties that parental responsibilities are discussed between themselves.

I regret buying a house with my boyfriend – what do I do?

If you’re in a situation where you’re thinking ‘I regret buying a house with my boyfriend’ and you don’t know what to do – DON’T panic!

It’s something that happens to lots of people, each and every day and the good news is that we’re able to help. Whether you regret buying the house together because you’ve broken up or you just weren’t ready for that big step, we’ve got the solution for you.

By selling the house, you’re able to split the equity (equally or not depending on your ownership type) and move on. Whether you own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common, we’re here to make the selling house process fast and stress-free.

We know how difficult it can be if you’re wanting to get out of a house ownership quickly, but your house has been put on the open market and months, or even a year, down the line you’re still waiting for a buyer.

To get you out of this situation and sell your house fast, we’re here to help! Here at The Property Buying Company, we’re a cash buyer of houses in any location in any condition!

With us being a cash buyer we can act fast and complete the sale in a fast timescale of your choice – our average time is 2 to 3 weeks, but that’s not to say we haven’t completed in 7 days before…

We will handle the whole process for you, from start to finish, and we cover all of the fees – yes that’s right, you won’t have to pay any estate agent commission or legal fees!

We’re members of The Property Ombudsman and the National Association of Property Buyers and we’re rated excellent on Trustpilot with over 1,000+ reviews, so you can feel you’re in safe hands with us.

We also have over 50 years of combined experience, meaning there’s no situation we haven’t dealt with, so we will be best equipped to help you!

Regretting buying a house with your boyfriend and want to sell it fast and move on? Give us a call or fill in our online form to receive a no-obligation cash offer, which you will receive in FULL as soon as next week…

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Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a Content Producer who enjoys writing articles, finding out about the property market, keeping you up to date with the latest trends.