Joint ownership

Joint owners of a property can share ownership of the home as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

Joint tenants

This type of joint ownership is normally used by people who are in relationship. It means you have equal rights to the whole of the property rather than a specific share.

If you die, the other joint owner automatically inherits your share of the property. You can't leave your share of your home to someone else in your will.

The word 'tenants' is used to describe the different types of joint ownership, but it has nothing to do with renting.

Tenants in common

This type of joint ownership is usually used if you're buying a home with friends or family.

Each tenant in common owns a specific share of the property. You don't necessarily have to have equal shares.

Your share of the property doesn't automatically pass to the other legal owners if you die. It goes to whoever is named in your will. If you don't have a will, your share passes to your next of kin.

Joint ownership agreements

You may want to draw up a legal agreement before you buy a home with your friends or family.

This would say what would happen if one person wants to sell, how much notice would be needed and what share of the sale proceeds each owner is entitled to.

Get advice from a solicitor.

Use the Law Society directory to find a lawyer in your area.

Changing the joint ownership agreement

You can change the type of legal ownership of your home. You may wish to do this if you are joint tenants and you intend to separate or divorce.

If you want to leave your share of the property to someone else when you die, you must be a tenant in common.

See for more information on:

If you have a joint mortgage

All joint owners must give permission for any sale, remortgage or taking out a secure loan on the property.

If one of you stops paying a joint mortgage, the other people named on the mortgage must make sure the full repayments are made.

Your home could be repossessed and sold if your mortgage payments aren't made.

Ending joint ownership

All joint owners, whether they are joint tenants or tenants in common, have equal rights to live in a property.

If one person wants to sell, all the other joint owners must agree. None of the joint owners can be forced to leave or sell their share of the home unless a court orders this.

Get advice if you decide that you don't want to live together any more and can't agree who should stay or whether to sell the property.

Last updated 21 Jan 2015 | © Shelter

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