Joint Tenants Or Tenants In Common?

In her latest blog, Conveyancing Paralegal, Kate Offler discusses the pros and cons of Joint Tenancy and Tenants In Common…

For a lot of couples that are buying a property together, the thought of discussing how they are going to own the property is sometimes a touchy subject. It is however useful to consider the pros and cons of both owning the property as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Not many people consider that the legal ownership can have implications later down the line and coming to an informed decision now can avoid any future problems…

What Is Joint Tenancy?

Joint Tenancy is where both of you will own the whole of the property, it will be presumed you both own the equity in the property equally and if one of you passes away their interest in the property will automatically pass to the remaining joint owner without further action.

What Does Tenants In Common Mean?

Tenants In Common is where each owner will own the equity in the property in a specified share, you can decide whether this is to be fixed or varied depending on financial contributions to the property. Unlike Joint Tenancy your share of the property can be passed on to another person either during your lifetime or under your Will. Making a declaration of trust is often recommended when owning the property as Tenants In Common, as this formally sets out your respective shares in the property.

Pros and Cons

Joint Tenants

Tenants In Common





Equal ownership If you separate, the assumption is each person owns 50%, this could cause legal dispute Custom shares depending on financial contribution Additional paperwork (i.e. drawing up a deed of trust)
Straightforward in event of death – “right of survivorship” Not always practical when you have other family members from a previous relationship May be more appropriate when couples have children from previous relationships and want the children to inherit their interest on death Can become complicated if you decide on varied shares, keeping an accurate and up to date record of all financial contributions will be required
  If one of you becomes bankrupt a creditor can force a sale of the whole property without your permission  

Transfer your share to anyone in your Will

Situations can change and therefore shares will often need to be revisited -i.e. one owner pays for significant improvements to the property
  Either owner can sever the joint tenancy without the other’s agreement Up to four named legal owners of the property


Final Thoughts…

In summary buying a house together and deciding how you wish to hold the property should be your own decision.

It is useful to have these discussions now rather than later down the line as…

• A dispute could arise later. This could result in litigation which would potentially be time consuming and expensive for all parties involved.
• If no agreement is made between the parties a court may have to decide the shares in which you own the property… a court may divide the property in a way that differs from what you intended.

If you would like more advice and help in regards to the above please do get in touch with our conveyancing team on freephone 0800 011 6666 or via email at


Kate Offler

February 2023

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