Joint Property: A comprehensive guide
Whether you just bought your first home with your partner or whether you've inherited property together with other beneficiaries, it is important that you understand the rules of joint property ownership. We want to make it easy for you with this comprehensive guide to joint property.
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Who owns the property?
It's not uncommon that you've lived in a property for years, maybe together with your partner or spouse but you've never checked whether you actually own all or part of the property.
Today, most properties are registered at the . The register holds details such as the owner of the property. If you are unsure about who owns the property, we advise you to contact the Land Registry and ask for a copy of the register of the property in question. You can do so .
If your property is not registered, the official owner of the property is on the title deeds.
In the case of unregistered properties Your mortgage provider usually holds your title deeds; or if you don't have a mortgage on the property, unregistered title deeds are usually held by the owner or kept in a safe storage space with a solicitor. If the property is registered then the Land Registry will hold electronic copies of all relevant title deeds together with the official registers of title.
Your name on the mortgage
Note that your name on the mortgage does not mean that you own the property. It only means that you are responsible for paying the mortgage or part of the mortgage. If you believe you own part of the property, your name has to be in the register at the Land Registry or, if the property is unregistered, on the title deeds.
Joint tenants or tenants in common
When you buy a property with someone else, you must register it as jointly owned with HM Land Registry. The options for this are:
Joint tenants (also known as beneficial joint tenants):
- Commonly used by couples buying together.
- If one party dies, the property will automatically be given to the other joint tenant.
- to someone else in your will is not possible.
Tenants in common
- Suitable if different shares of the property are needed but can also be used for equal shares.
- Suitable if more than two people purchase a property together.
- If one party dies, the property will not automatically be given to the other owner.
- Each owner can pass on their share of the property to beneficiaries of their choice under their will.
What if the partnership ends?
If your partnership ends and you are joint tenants, we strongly advise you to sever the joint tenancy and change it to tenants in common. If you die while in a joint tenancy, the other tenant will automatically become the sole owner of the property, despite what's written in your will.
However, if you change your property ownership to tenants in common, you can leave your share of the property to whomever you wish.
Severing joint property
To sever a joint property, follow the steps below:
If your property is not registered, severing the joint property and putting up a restriction is more complex. Contact us to establish your full legal position
My partner has lost mental capacity. How does it affect our joint property ownership?
If your partner is judged incapable of signing legally binding documents, you may have to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to make decisions about the property by yourself. We understand that this is a difficult situation for you and we can assist you with the legal paperwork to speed up this process.
What is matrimonial home right?
Matrimonial home rights can be applied to people who are married or in a civil partnership and who don't own part of the property that they live in.
The matrimonial home rights protect your right to live in the property that you've lived in during your marriage or civil partnership even though you don't own a share of the property.
S+G were very professional and calm throughout the process, especially in the final week leading to exchange and completion, coming up with sensible solutions to prevent my buyer's solicitor from delaying the process any further. I cannot recommend them enough. Mr B (residential conveyancing case)
I am very pleased with the service I have received. I had a complicated chain between different towns both buying and selling. Excellent communication skills and keen to go extra mile to provide you with the best of her ability. The completion happened within timescale promised. Anonymous (residential conveyancing case
We've just moved into our new home. The Manchester branch couldn't have been more helpful, patient or kind. Really quick to get back to us and thoroughly explained everything to make sure we could understand it. I would highly recommend Mrs D, Manchester (residential conveyancing case)