The whole conveyancing process can be quite confusing, and the terminology doesn’t help. When buying a home jointly, you will come across the terms joint tenancy and tenants in common – but what’s the difference?
What is joint tenancy?
If you purchase property as joint tenants, it means that you are both joint owners of the property and as such are equally entitled to it.
So, for example, if you own a property jointly with your partner and one of you dies then your interest in the property will pass automatically to the surviving owner – regardless of what your will says, the other becomes sole owner of that property.
What is tenancy in common?
In contrast, tenants in common own the property in specific shares i.e. equal shares [50/50] or unequal shares [e.g. 70/30].
With tenants in common, if you die, then your interest in the property does not automatically pass to the survivor – instead, it will be classified as part of your estate and as such will pass under the terms of your will [unless you didn’t have a will, in which case the property will be transferred according to the intestacy rules].
If you own property as tenants in common in unequal shares, it’s absolutely essential that you get a declaration of trust drafted up by a specialist conveyancing solicitor – documenting the differing shares in your property owned by you both.
If you are tenants in common, then regardless of whether you own the property in equal or unequal shares, make sure you both get a will – so that if one of you passes on – you can control to whom your share of your property passes.
Click here to find out more about making a will.
Can we change our sort of ownership?
Yes – it is possible to transfer ownership in this way.
When it comes to changing from tenants-in-common to joint tenants, this is often what happens when a couple get married and would rather have equal home ownership rights
Change over from joint tenants to a tenancy in common often takes places when the reverse happens i.e. when a relationship breaks down and the couple is looking to divorce or separate they would rather their share of the joint property be left under their will to someone other than their ex.
Stuck in a dispute over joint home ownership?
Click here to find out more about how we can help with your Joint Property Ownership Disputes. Alternatively simply phone our team on 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice.
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