If you’re currently involved in a dispute about who should occupy your property, you may need a type of injunction called an ‘occupation order’ or an ‘occupancy order.’
Our solicitors can explain exactly how occupancy orders work and help you to get things under control.
We are providers of legal aid services, so legal aid may be available to you.
What is the Purpose of an Occupation Order?
Occupation orders can be used to grant someone access back into their property. They can also be used to keep certain people away from a property and its surrounding areas, or both. They are usually served against abusive partners.
Occupation orders help to ensure that victims can live in the property safely and peacefully, without fear of the abusive ex-partner returning.
The order can be tailored to include who is responsible for maintaining the property and who should be paying, or contributing to, the mortgage or rent and bills.
Who Can Apply for an Occupation Order?
You must be able to show that you are in some way associated with the person you want to file the occupation order against. This means that you will have a relationship of some kind with them, whether they are your partner, ex-partner, relative, co-habitant or someone you have been involved in court proceedings before.
You must also be able to prove that are legally entitled to live in the property, either as an owner, joint-owner or tenant. You can also apply if you were married to the owner or legal tenant.
How Legally Binding are Occupation Orders?
Whilst occupation orders have no impact on the legal ownership of a property, the offender must abide by its terms. If they don’t, they will face arrest and possibly a jail sentence of up to five years.
The length of time that the order will be valid will depend on your circumstances, but they generally last between six and twelve months. If necessary, they can be replaced by a further order when they expire.
What will the court consider when I apply?
When deciding whether to grant you your occupation order or not, the judge will consider:
- The housing needs of you and your family
- The behaviour and conduct of both you and your partner
- Your financial situation
- The impact the occupation order will have on everyone involved, also known as the ‘balance of harm.’
In some cases, the judge may decide it’s necessary to impose both occupation and non-molestation order, especially when the case involves a particularly aggressive or violent offender.
Contact our family law team today to discuss your situation in complete confidentiality.