Common-Law Couples and Housing: What You Need to Know

In the News

Law is a part of our everyday lives — even our love lives! Here, we’ll take a quick look at the rules affecting common-law couples (also known as “de facto couples) and rental housing.

Who’s responsible for paying the rent?  

The person who signed the lease is responsible for paying the rent.

So, if you signed the lease — either with your partner or on your own — you’re responsible for paying the rent.

If both of you signed the lease and nothing special is mentioned about your responsibilities, you are each responsible for paying your share of the rent, but not the entire rent.

Did you know?

Common-law couples can sign an agreement on various aspects of their life while living together and in the case of a break-up. For example, the contract could set out how much each spouse will pay for rent, electricity, and groceries each month.

To learn more, see our article Written Agreements Between Common-Law Couples.

What if there’s a break-up?

If a common-law couple breaks up, the person who signed the lease has the right to decide whether the other person can stay or not. For example, your ex can decide that you have to leave if they signed the lease, but you did not.

But if you both signed the lease, you have to come to an agreement as to what will happen next. As co-tenants, each of you has the right to continue living in the apartment.

To learn more, see our article Separation of Common-Law Couples: Who Stays in a Rented Family Home?