Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common

Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common

As Property Lawyers acting for Purchasers, we have to advise on ownership if there is more than one owner.  Purchasers have to decide between themselves whether they wish to own as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. If the first then means that the property must be held in equal shares and that upon death the property goes to the survivor. That is regardless of a Will.                                        

The alternative is a Tenancy in Common. That means that the property does not pass on death automatically to the other party. It could only pass if the parties were married/ in a civil partnership BUT NOT ALWAYS or if a Will is made. IT IS IMPORTANT to make a Will therefore if you have a Tenancy in Common.   A Tenancy in Common can declare the property to be equal or unequal ownership. That is a frequent motive for having a Tenancy in Common. Commonly that is because one party has put in a deposit that they wish to protect in the event of the relationship ending. The normal terms of that would be that that party receives the deposit back if the relationship ends. Then the net proceeds are divided equally. 

How binding is the agreement as to Ownership? If you are unmarried then you must regard this as binding and you will generally be held to it. If married or in Civil Partnership then it is much less important. This is because the agreement can be overridden under Statutory Law.

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