What is the difference between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common?

When two or more people buy a property together, there are two forms of ownership for the property which co-owners should consider.

Joint Tenants

When the co-owners are both named on the title deeds, they can hold the property as joint tenants. This means that if one co-owner was to die, the property would automatically become wholly owned by the other owner, even without a will. The co-owners do not have any identifiable shares in the property.

Tenants in Common

The other option is to hold the property as tenants in common, meaning each co-owner has identifiable shares in the property, which they can choose to leave to a third party in their will.

If the co-owners choose to have unequal shares, it is advisable to draw up a Declaration of Trust to specify the split of their shares and how the property would be dealt with if one of them was to die or if they were to separate / divorce (however, in many divorce cases, matrimonial legislation may override this). This prevents uncertainty or dispute later on.

Which is right for you?

Natalie Neil is a Conveyancing Executive who helps people to buy and sell property each day. She explains “Most couples in a relationship choose to be joint tenants. Tenants in common is in the most frequent choice for cohabiters, for example friends who buy a house together but would not want their share to pass automatically to the other owners if they died. However, just because these are the usual options, this does not always mean that they are the best for you. My advice is to discuss your situation, wishes and options with your conveyancer, so that you can make the right choice.”

Our Conveyancing Team are happy to discuss any issues that this raises for you. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Natalie or a member of her team will be happy to chat about your situation and your particular requirements.