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  5. Should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 apply to domestic relationships?

Should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 apply to domestic relationships?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 does not apply to people who provide care and support for each other in a platonic, non-romantic way. We call these relationships domestic relationships.

Domestic relationships may include relationships between family members or even relationships between people and their carers.

Jane and Patricia
Jane and Patricia are sisters. They are in their early forties. They have lived together for 15 years. During that time, they have pooled their income into the same bank account, shared living expenses, and bought household items like whiteware. They have a shared social life. They go on holidays together and have the same friends. Because of their close relationship, Jane and Patricia provide affection and emotional support to each other.

Some people say that the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 should apply to domestic relationships. A domestic relationship may function in a similar way to a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship. People in domestic relationships may live in the same house, they may provide support and care for each other, and the relationship may last a long time.

But domestic relationships are different to marriages, civil unions and de facto relationships. A sexual relationship is a common feature of the relationships that come under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. Also, the people in domestic relationships may not expect to share property if the relationship ended.

If a domestic relationship ends, the people in the relationship can rely on other laws if they think they should be entitled to the property of the other person in the relationship. But these legal remedies are sometimes limited and hard to claim. It would be easier for people to claim rights in the property of another if their domestic relationship came under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

What do you think?

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