You and the Law – 7th June 2011

Left home empty handed

I lived with my partner for seven years until she asked me to leave.  She owned the property and we shared all household expenses equally, and when I left I just took the things I had brought with me.  Am I entitled to anything more?  DF

You are entitled to a half share of any items purchased during the time you were together as long as they were intended to be jointly owned or were bought out of joint funds.  If your former partner refuses to divide these items you could claim compensation via the County Court if necessary, although it would obviously be preferable to reach an agreement. 

If you paid part of the mortgage or made any substantial contribution to the property it’s possible you would have a claim to a share of the house.  It would certainly be worth discussing this with a solicitor.

Bailiff worry

My sister-in-law is on the verge of bankruptcy.  She has been using my address for her mail without my permission.  Am I right to be concerned about bailiffs coming round?  RB

The reason your sister-in-law has been using your address, of course, is to avoid the bailiffs coming to her own door.  It can be an offence to provide a false address in order to obtain goods or services.  It’s possible you will receive a visit from the bailiffs if your sister-in-law is taken to court, but they are not entitled to take any property which belongs to you, and if you explain the situation to them they will no doubt go away. 

If your sister-in-law is listed as living at your address, her activities may prevent you obtaining credit.  Check by contacting one of the credit reference agencies, such as Experian (0870 241 6212).

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