An increasing number of people are choosing to live together without getting married. In fact, there are currently more than four million people cohabiting in England and Wales.
Whilst cohabitees do enjoy legal protection in several areas, they still have significantly fewer rights than couples who are married or in civil partnerships.
This can bring its own set of problems, with many cohabiting couples only discovering how few rights they actually have when their relationship breaks down. This is where disputes can arise.
There are things you can do to protect your position before you start to live together. It is therefore prudent to see a solicitor and take some advice at an early stage. Professional advice can help you avoid the stress and financial loss if the relationship subsequently breaks down.
If the relationship does break down, it is important to seek independent legal advice to ensure that disputes are resolved as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Your solicitor’s job is to look after your best interests, providing realistic, professional advice that is right for you and your circumstances, using their knowledge of the law and their professional experience.
This guide covers some of the key points relating to the rights of cohabitees. However, please note that this is for general guidance only, so you should always seek professional advice tailored to your own circumstances before entering into any arrangements.
Meet the team
Lisa Ginesi is a partner in our commercial litigation and dispute resolution team. Her practice covers a wide range of commercial disputes and predominantly relates to all forms of property disputes. The clients Lisa acts for range from large corporate property developers and investors to private property owning individuals.
Lisa regularly advises on a wide variety of issues affecting both residential and commercial properties and an extensive range of contractual disputes. Lisa has particular expertise in landlord and tenant disputes, the 1954 Act, dilapidation issues, nuisance claims; boundary disputes, possession claims, construction and development contracts, party wall disputes, trespasser proceedings and all aspects of enfranchisement.
In every case, Lisa actively looks for ways to reach practical and cost-effective solutions, whether that is through negotiation, court proceedings, self-help remedies or alternative dispute resolution. She works with her clients as part of a team, often alongside surveyors, engineers and a variety of other experts.
Recent Transactions include;
- Successfully appealing against two Party Wall Awards and securing costs for our client in a case relating to a substantial development in Shoreditch.
- Acting for a corporate property developer in a dispute to enforce the terms of a sale and construction agreement, to enable our client to complete their development and sell a number of flats.
- Acting for a sole trader tenant, of a commercial shop in Great Russell Street in a claim against his landlord for unreasonably delaying and withholding consent to an assignment of his lease.
- Acting for a residential property developer who intended to carry out underpinning works and was served with an injunction obtained by the Council to stop works for alleged breach of planning regulations and starting excavation for basement works.
- Advising on a complex lease renewal of commercial premises under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, involving; disputed terms for a new lease; unauthorised sub-lettings and breach of planning legislation.
- Advising a client who owns the freehold of a large residential block of flats in London in relation to a number of applications to extend leases under the 1993 Act, including dealing with applications to the First Tier Tribunal. Conversely, advising a number of tenants, in a different block of flats, on their rights to extend their leases.
- Advising on a range of enfranchisement issues, including lease extensions and purchases of freeholds under the 1993 and 1967 Acts, and rights of first refusal under the 1987 Act.
- Acting in a number of contractual property disputes including; disputed joint venture agreements; breaches and termination of JCT contracts; claims against insurers for losses and claims for unpaid fees and defective works.
Early in her career, Lisa had the privilege of being part of the team which took a highly technical lease renewal case to the House to Lords (P&O v Graysim).
Some notable and reported cases include;
- Sai Ventures Ltd v Compar Properties Ltd  – an appeal against two Party Wall Awards in a case relating to a substantial development in Shoreditch.
- H Waites Ltd v Hambledon court Ltd and others  – landlord and tenant dispute concerning air space and extent of the tenants’ demise.
- Anslow and others v Norton Aluminium Ltd  – a GLO claim for multi million pound damages in nuisance, claimed to be caused by smell, noise and dust.
- Delgable Ltd v Perinpanathan  – landlord and tenant dispute concerning the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Act and liability to repair roof.
- P&O Property Holdings Limited v Graysim  – dispute on the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This was a Supreme Court decision.
Judicial Appointment: Lisa was appointed a Deputy District Judge to the South Eastern Circuit in 2020.
Lisa was educated at Haydon Bridge High School in Northumberland and then studied law at the University of West London. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992, having trained and qualified at Carter Lemon Camerons. Lisa is a member of the Property Litigation Association, Women in Business, Women in Property, the Association of Women Solicitors and the Law Society.
Mike joined our team as a Senior Associate Solicitor in our Family and Dispute Resolution Departments in 2023.
He is well-versed in all the key areas of family law, including divorce, matrimonial finance, child arrangement, and Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA) issues.
He is also a member of Resolution, which means he is dedicated to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational manner with other Family Lawyers.
Mike handles a variety of private family matters, such as:
- Divorce and Separation;
- Financial Disputes;
- Matters related to Children (like child arrangements and financial provision for children);
- Cohabitation Disputes;
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements;
- Injunctions (like applications for Occupation and Non-Molestation Orders).
We are glad to have Mike on our team, and we know his friendly, professional approach will be a big help for clients navigating their legal issues.