My partner has left our jointly owned house but is threatening to come back. Can I stop them by changing the locks?
by Jo Spain, family law solicitor
The simple answer is no. You can't change the locks if the property is in joint names as your partner has a right to live there. However if there is any domestic violence or threatening or intimidating behaviour towards you by him/her then it is possible to apply to the Court for an Occupation Order (commonly known as an “injunction”) which will mean that your partner can be prevented from coming into the property or sometimes prevents them from coming within a certain distance of the property.
To do this you will need to show to a Court that it is appropriate for them to be excluded (for example if there is a risk of harm to yourself or children living in the property) and in some cases you will need to show the Court that they could be housed elsewhere, for example by family or friends or in other accommodation which they can afford to pay for. It may even be necessary to pay for alternative accommodation for the other person and agree to continue to pay the rent or mortgage on your current property.
A Court application can be issued at your local County Court and there is a fee to pay.