Beginners guide to joint ownership

by Leeds Building Society

Warning: THE MORTGAGED PROPERTY (WHICH MAY BE YOUR HOME) MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE

Beginners guide to joint ownership

Before buying a property with someone, whether it is with friends, family members or your significant other – you need to decide how ownership of the property will be divided. There are two types of joint ownership; ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’. Each type has a different effect on what will happen to the property if your relationship with the joint owner ends or if one owner dies. Below, we take a look at the difference between these two types:

Joint Tenants (sometimes referred to as ‘beneficial joint tenants’):

Joint tenants is the most common type of ownership. This means that all parties own the property as a whole, even if they if they did not contribute equally to the deposit or do not contribute equally towards the mortgage payments or maintenance. Joint tenants is the usual choice for couples who buy a property together.

As joint tenants:

  • You will have equal rights to the whole property;
  • If you die, ownership of the property automatically passes to the surviving owners;
  • You cannot leave ownership of the property to anybody in your will.

Tenants in Common

As ‘tenants in common’ each owner will own ‘shares’ in the property which may be in equal amounts or may be different. Up to four people can own a property as ‘tenants in common’ and this is most commonly used by groups of friends or family members who purchase a house together.

As tenants in common:

  • You will own 'shares' in the property which may be in equal amounts or different;
  • If you die, your share of the property will not automatically pass to the surviving owners;
  • You choose who you want to pass your share of the property to in your will.

This guide is intended as a summary only and does not constitute legal advice given by Leeds Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this guide and you must make your own decisions, we recommend that you seek legal and/or financial advice if you have any questions or queries.