Are you thinking of purchasing a property in joint names?
If you are purchasing a property with another person in joint names – you will have to decide which type of ownership is best for you:
Joint tenancy is the most common type of ownership for married couples or people in civil partnerships. In this case, both tenants are registered as owning the property together and equally. The surviving tenant automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.
Tenancy in common usually establishes the proportion or share that each tenant has contributed towards the purchase of the property. This enables each owner to leave their share of the property to someone other than the co-owner through their Will.
Changing relationships and circumstances
If you are a joint tenant and no longer wish for your co-owner to receive your half share of the property automatically, you can sever the joint tenancy and convert this into a tenancy in common. Provided the other party has been formally notified, they cannot oppose the severance of joint tenancy which is then recorded by the Land Registry against the title of the property.
At this point, it would be advisable to make a new Will or review a previous one to state who will be the beneficiary of your estate, as well as defining the shares of the property. In the absence of a Will, the Law of Intestacy may designate a different beneficiary to the one you would otherwise choose.
In the event of divorce or dissolution of civil partnership (as registered under the Civil Partnerships Act 2004), your ex-partner may have a claim on your estate and the Court will take a broad and fair view of all the circumstances and could order the immediate or deferred sale of the property, a transfer or adjustment of shares, regardless of your type of ownership.
If you and your co-owner are not married or in a civil partnership, the Court has much less discretion in how it can resolve disputes over shared ownership properties. It is unlikely to interfere with the parties’ declared financial interests on the property. Where these are not defined, the Court will consider the past intentions of each party and may in fact find that the parties have changed their common intention since purchasing the property. This could be made obvious by a documented revision of the original agreement or inferred by statements or actions of the parties. Should there be a lack of evidence, the Court will take all the circumstances of the case to ensure a fair outcome.
Whether you are a joint tenant or tenant in common, you will each be liable for the repayment of your mortgage.
It is important to obtain legal advice when purchasing a property in joint names to ensure you are selecting the right option for you – either a joint tenancy or tenancy in common.
The right choice for you will depend on several different factors, including your own situation and the relationship you have with your co-purchaser. Although you can change the way you own the property it is recommended you seek advise to help you make the right decision from the outset to avoid additional cost and complexity down the line.
If you are considering purchasing a property and would like legal advice regarding your options and a better understanding of the conveyancing process, contact our experienced conveyancing team today. We offer Residential Conveyancing services and legal advice to clients across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and London. We would be happy to talk to you about your plans. Get in touch today on 01284 767766.
Please note this article is provided for general information purposes only to clients and friends of Atkins Dellow LLP. It is not intended to impart legal advice on any matter. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information in this article is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy, and Atkins Dellow LLP does not accept any liability for error or omission.
© Atkins Dellow LLP 2021
SHAREWhether you’re buying your first or dream home, for more information on the costs associated with buying or selling contact our Conveyancing team today on 01284 767 766Buying a Property When buying a home, the standard costs you can expect to...
SHAREProud members of The Law Society's Conveyancing Quality SchemeWe’re proud members of The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). This scheme acknowledges firms who achieve the quality standard for delivering residential conveyancing...