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How to own property jointly

View profile for Jehangir Asghar
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With more people joining forces to get onto the property ladder, Jay Asghar explains the alternative ways to own property jointly.

In English law, there are two main methods of joint ownership of land namely:

  • joint tenancy; and
  • tenancy in common.

Jay Asghar, a property solicitor in our Watford office, explains each in more detail:

Joint tenancy: The essential characteristic of a joint tenancy is that each joint tenant owns an interest in each and every part of the property purchased, rather than an identifiable share in one half or one quarter etc. Upon the death of a joint tenant, his or her interest in the land passes automatically to the surviving joint tenant and does not form part of the deceased’s estate to pass under their will or intestacy

This method is favoured by most married couples where the intention is that the property should pass in any event to the husband or wife absolutely.

Tenancy in common: Under this method, each joint owner is entitled to a defined and identifiable share in the property purchased. For instance, if Mr A. and Mr B. purchase a property jointly, for £300,000, Mr A. providing £200,000 and Mr B. providing £100,000 they would hold the property as tenant in common with Mr A. having two thirds share and Mr B. having one third share.

Unlike a joint tenancy, an interest in land under a tenancy in common will fall into and form part of the estate of a tenant in common following death. In the example above, if Mr B dies leaving a will which gives everything to his wife, Mrs B becomes the tenant in common in his place.

The tenancy in common method is favoured by some unmarried couples with no definite plans to marry, as well as unrelated joint purchasers and in cases where, as with Mr A and Mr B above, the purchase price is contributed in unequal shares.

The major difference between the two methods is that under the joint tenancy system the interest of the first joint owner to die passes by survivorship to the other joint owner, whereas under a tenancy in common it forms part of a deceased’s estate and passes under the terms of his will or alternatively in accordance with the laws relating to intestacy, if he has not left a will.

If we can be of any assistance regarding property ownership please contact Jay Asghar on 01923 650884 or who will be pleased to assist.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.