Housing options when separating

Last updated: 18/08/2020

When separating from a partner there are things to consider before deciding to stay or leave the home you shared.

Scottish Women’s Aid


There are issues to consider when separating from a partner and are deciding to stay or leave the home you shared. When you and your partner separate, your rights to stay in or leave the home depend on your relationship status, whether there has been abuse in the relationship and whether you rent or own the home.

Relationship status

If you are not married or not in a civil partnership, you generally do not have a right to live in the home unless you are an owner or are on the tenancy agreement if you rent.

You may also have a legal agreement giving you rights to occupy, even when your name is not on the title deeds as an owner. This means that although you do not own your home you may be entitled to a share as part of divorce proceedings. Seek legal advice if this applies to you.

For support, advice & information on domestic abuse, contact Scottish Women’s Aid:


Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline Scotland

0800 027 1234

If there has been domestic abuse

If you are danger call the police on 112 from a landline or mobile

If your ex-partner has no legal right to be in the home, you can ask them to leave and call the police for assistance if they refuse. You can also change the locks.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or your ex-partner’s name is on the tenancy agreement or deeds to your home they have occupancy rights and therefore you cannot prevent them from entering the house, but you can obtain an exclusion order from the court because of the abuse.

If your ex-partner’s behaviour is abusive this may breach the tenancy agreement and be grounds for eviction. Contact your landlord to find out more.

If you need to leave your home due to domestic abuse, contact your local council. They will offer you temporary emergency accommodation in the area you live or in another local authority and you can make a homeless application. You can have a meeting with a homeless officer to discuss your situation and options which may include returning to your own home or applying to the council for permanent rented accommodation.