Co-ownership of property

If you are buying a property with another person then you need to decide how you will hold the property between you.

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Why does it matter?

Property can be held in two different ways - as joint tenants or tenants in common.

If you decide to sell the property or die then how you hold the property decides how the money or property is split.

If one party is putting more into the purchase price than the other, then this can be recorded in the document.

Joint Tenants

Where two people own a property as joint tenants if one of them dies the other one automatically owns the whole property

Most married couples buying a property together own the property as joint tenants so that if one dies the other can carry on living at the property.

A joint tenancy will end automatically in several situations including where one party becomes bankrupt.

Either owner can end the joint tenancy without the other owner’s agreement. 

Tenants in common

Where two people own a property as tenants in common they will own it in equal or unequal shares.

Tenants in common can hold the property in unequal shares to show the contributions made to the purchase price. The agreed proportions are recorded in a legal document.

Most friends buying a house together or unmarried couples hold property as tenants in common.

When a person dies as a tenant in common their share of the property forms part of their estate and will pass under their will.  Their family, rather than the co-owner, will inherit their share of the property.

If you buy as tenants in common it is recommended that you make a will if you do not already have one.

Can you change how you hold the property?

It is possible to change from joint tenants to tenants in common by severing the joint tenancy.  This can be done at any time by serving a notice to sever the joint tenancy.

Tenants in common can become joint tenants at a later date by entering into a declaration of trust.

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Create your Cohabitation agreement

Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest