Joint Ownership of Property and Conveyancing
26th April 2011
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In conveyancing transactions there is often more than one individual purchasing a property. There are two ways in which the property can be held by the owners, Joint Tenants or Tenants In Common. The most common form is Joint Tenants whereby the property is owned equally by the co-owners and the co-owners have a right of survivorship. Therefore if one owner dies the owner’s interest in the property is automatically transferred to the surviving owner/s.

However, a method of ownership that prospective purchasers are much less commonly aware of is Tenants In Common. When registered as Tenants in Common each co-owner is regarded by the law as having their own separate interest in the property, and this interest can also be of differing percentages. Therefore if a co-owner died the interest they held in the property would form part of their estate and pass by inheritance to that owner's heirs, by intestate succession or by will if one is in place.

There are a number of reasons why owners may be well advised by their conveyancing solicitors to hold the property as Tenants in Common. Owners may be contributing differing amounts of capital to the purchase of the property and by holding the property as Tenants In Common this interest can be protected. The property can be held in differing percentages of ownership in order to reflect the capital invested in the property.

In addition in the modern world whereby more couples are choosing to cohabit rather than marry they may choose to leave their share of the property to somebody other than their partner, by holding the property as Tenants in Common this can be arranged whereby if they purchased as Joint Tenants it would automatically go to the surviving partner. An example of this of owners who may decide to hold the property as tenants in common is during second marriages where owners may wish to protect the interests of any children they may have had during the first marriage. By holding the property as Tenants in Common after their death the interest in the property can be passed to their children or any other chosen person/s.

It is important when there is more than one purchaser that each prospective purchaser carefully considers the impacts of both methods and makes an informed decision based on their conveyancing solicitor’s advice on how best to hold the property.

About the Author

Catharine C

Member since: 1st September 2011

I am a Solicitor/Partner at QualitySolicitors Roberts Crossley. At QSRC we offer a range of services catering for the needs of individuals with our conveyancing, family law, accident claims, personal injury...

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