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Owning Property in Joint Names

This article is taken from the Land Registry’s website and aims to clarify the two types of Joint Ownership of property.

If you own your property jointly, either as a married couple, partners or friends, you will have chosen one of two kinds of ownership. You will own your property as either beneficial joint tenants or tenants in common. This is the case whether you own the property as freeholders or leaseholders.

Beneficial joint tenancy

Owning your property as beneficial joint tenants means the property belongs to you and the other owner or owners jointly. You must all act together as a single owner, for example on a remortgage or a sale. You do not own specific shares in the property and you cannot give away a share of the property in a will. If you die, your interest in the property passes automatically to the other owner or owners.

A beneficial joint tenancy ends when either: the whole property is transferred to one owner; the tenancy is converted into a tenancy in common, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, for example if one of the owners becomes bankrupt; the property is sold to someone else; or one owner outlives all the others.

Tenancy in common

Owning property as tenants in common means the property belongs to you jointly but you also own a specific share of its value. You can give away, sell or mortgage your share. If you die, your share of the property passes to the beneficiary in your will. This type of ownership is reflected by an entry on the register for the property known as a Form A restriction:

Form A restriction: “No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court.”

The effect of this restriction is that if you are the last survivor of all the owners you must appoint another person to act with you in any deed of sale or mortgage and to jointly receive any sale price or mortgage advance.

A tenancy in common ends when either: you all sell the property (with all the shares) to someone else; you all convert to a beneficial joint tenancy; or one owner acquires all the shares in the property.

A tenancy in common does not automatically end when all the original owners have died. It will continue unless one person has become the owner of all the shares or the property is sold. The law makes provision about who can become the registered owner or who can sell the property when this happens.

For more information please contact our Conveyancing Team who will be delighted to help you.