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Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common

Joint property ownership explained

When two or more people buy a property together, they can own it in two different ways, either as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Which type of ownership you choose depends on your circumstances and what you want to happen to your interest in the property in the future.

At Bell Lamb & Joynson, we have been helping people onto the property ladder for over 200 years, working with clients across Liverpool, Runcorn, Warrington and beyond as they buy homes and investment properties. We know how important it is to provide a fast and efficient conveyancing service, and we always do all we can to ensure a successful transaction.

If you are buying a property jointly with someone else, there are several points to consider in deciding whether you buy as joint tenants or as tenants in common. We can talk you through both types of ownership and ensure the right documentation is in place. Our services include:

  • Discussing with you the benefits of both joint tenancy and tenants in common
  • Advising you on the appropriate method of ownership for your property
  • Dealing with the conveyancing on your property purchase
  • Drawing up a declaration of trust or trust deed for ownership as tenants in common
  • Severing a joint tenancy so that it becomes a tenancy in common
  • Drawing up and serving a notice of severance
  • Registering your ownership and any restrictions at HM Land Registry
  • Taking your instructions and drafting a Will to ensure your property ownership will continue in the way you want it to

Get in touch with our conveyancing solicitors in Liverpool, Runcorn and Warrington

For an informal chat about how we can help you, contact us in one of the following ways:

Call 03444 124348 | Ask us a Question

We’re happy to talk with you over the phone, email or via WhatsApp, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and Microsoft Teams.

Or, if you would prefer, please feel free to pop into one of our offices in LiverpoolRuncorn or Warrington, where we will be happy to assist you further.

How our property solicitors can help you

Deciding whether to buy as joint tenants or tenants in common

If you are buying a property jointly with someone else, one of our expert property lawyers will go through the two types of ownership with you and discuss which method would be best for your circumstances.

If you choose to hold the property as joint tenants, then on the death of one of you, the other automatically becomes the sole owner.

If you own the property as tenants in common, then you can choose to hold unequal shares, and on the death of one of you, that share passes in accordance with the terms of their Will. If they do not hold a Will, then it will pass according to the Rules of Intestacy.

Changing your joint ownership to tenants in common

If you own a property jointly with someone, it may be beneficial to change the method of ownership in certain circumstances. We can advise you as to whether this is appropriate and, if so, arrange to sever the joint tenancy so that ownership becomes a tenancy in common. We will also arrange for the preparation and service of the required notice of severance of the joint tenancy.

Registering your method of ownership with HM Land Registry

After your property purchase or the severing of a joint tenancy, our property team will ensure that your ownership is correctly registered with HM Land Registry.

Joint tenants and tenants in common FAQs

Should we buy as joint tenants or tenants in common?

Deciding which method of ownership is right for you will depend on several factors. If you are both contributing the same amount to the purchase price and you wish the other owner to inherit the property should anything happen to you, then buying a property as joint tenants may be the best option.

Buying a property as tenants in common can be useful where you are contributing different amounts to the purchase or where you want to leave your share to someone else in your Will. This might be appropriate if you have children from a former relationship and you would like to leave them your interest in your home.

A tenancy in common is also often used when a third party contributes money towards the purchase. For example, if parents give a lump sum to their child to buy a property, this can be protected from being lost in the possible ending of a relationship.

When a property is owned as tenants in common, a declaration of trust will be drawn up stating the share of the sale proceeds that each owner will be entitled to.

It is advisable to take legal advice in deciding which type of ownership to have, to ensure that your interest in your property will be dealt with in the way that you wish in the future.

What happens if one person in a joint tenancy dies?

When a property is owned by joint tenants, and one of them dies, their interest is automatically owned by the remaining owner or owners.

What happens when one of the tenants in common dies?

If a property is owned by tenants in common, then on the death of one of them, their share will pass in accordance with their Will or, where they have not made a Will, in line with the Rules of Intestacy.

This means that the remaining owner may be asked to sell the property so that the new owner can realise their interest.

There is a way around this if a tenant in common wishes to give the other owner the right to stay in the property for as long as they want. This is done by leaving them a life interest in the deceased’s share. This can be useful where a couple wants to sever their tenancy so that they can leave their interest to their children but still want the surviving owner to live in the property.

This can also be used to protect the share of the first to die from being spent by the survivor in a way that they would not want, for example, being used for care home fees or being left to a new partner.

How do you end a joint tenancy?

Where you wish to end a joint tenancy, you can have a form drawn up severing the joint tenancy. Notice of this will need to be served on any other owners and a restriction entered on the Land Registry records. Alternatively, you and the other owner or owners could agree to enter into a declaration of trust if you are all in agreement about the way the property will be owned. This will still need to be registered at the Land Registry, but a notice of severance would not be necessary.

Get in touch with our property law solicitors in Liverpool, Runcorn and Warrington

For an informal chat about property ownership, contact us in one of the following ways:

Call 03444 124348 | Ask us a Question

We’re happy to speak to you by phone, email or via WhatsApp, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and Microsoft Teams.

Or if you prefer, please feel free to come into one of our offices in Liverpool, Runcorn or Warrington, where we will be happy to assist you further.