Understanding The Differences Between Joint Tenants And Tenants In Common

Nowadays, with the continually increasing house prices here in the UK, many are unable to purchase a property by themselves and in order to get on the housing market, it is becoming increasingly common for two people to own a property together. Whether you decide to purchase with a friend or with your partner, it goes without saying that doing so is an incredibly big step to take. 

If you’re thinking about taking this step, one of the most important things to consider is how you’re going to own the property. Two of the most relevant options in this regard are; joint tenants and tenants in common. Whilst commonly the word tenant is used in relation to someone who rents a property, in this context it actually means ownership. So, both of these options will mean that you’ll be joint owners, but they are actually quite different. Below we have looked into these differences further. 

Joint tenants 

This tends to be the most popular option for married couples and when you’re joint tenants it essentially means that the property belongs to you and the other owner/s jointly and proportionally. So, for example, if there are two joint tenants, you will both own 50% of the property, but if there are any more tenants, the percentage you own will decrease. 

When you own a property as joint tenants, you aren’t able to sell the property or even re-mortgage the property without the agreement of the other owner/s. You also aren’t able to sell your share or give this share away to anyone else. 

It is also worth pointing out that when you own the property as joint tenants, should one owner pass away, their percentage of the property will automatically pass to the other owner/s. 

Tenants in common 

This tends to be the most popular option for owners who aren’t married and when you’re tenants in common, whilst the property belongs to you and the other owner/s jointly, you have a specific share of its value. This share doesn’t need to be proportionate, so, for example, one owner could own 75% of the property and another owner could own 25%. 

As a tenant in common, you are free to do whatever you’d like with your share of the property too and if you’d like to sell or mortgage your percentage, you can do so without needing permission from the other owner/s. 

If you pass away whilst owning a property as a tenant in common, your share doesn’t automatically pass to the other owner/s. It will either be passed to the beneficiary in your Will or given to someone under the rules of intestacy. 

Deciding how to own a property 

There is no denying that there are pros and cons to each of these ownership options and ultimately, deciding how to own the property will depend on numerous different factors. It is fair to say that this is a very personal decision to make. 

Arguably, one of the most important things when deciding how to own a property is ensuring that you’re protecting your own investment, so always bear this in mind.  

It is also worth noting that you are able to change the way that you own the property over time. So, for example, if you get married and wish to change the property from tenants in common to joint tenants then you are able to do so. 

Finding a conveyancing solicitor to help 

Hopefully, you will now know more about these two property ownership options and the information above will help you to decide which way is best to own the property you’re purchasing. It goes without saying that this is an incredibly important decision to make and it is something that you should carefully consider. Should you require a professional opinion, it is worthwhile reaching out a conveyancing solicitor for accurate legal advice. 

When looking for a local law firm with a conveyancing team, be sure to visit the Location Lawyer website. Instead of endlessly scrolling through search engines trying to find the right solicitor, we will do the hard work for you. We can connect you to a community of specialist solicitors who can provide you with the conveyancing services that you require. So, whether you’re looking for conveyancing solicitors in Exeter, conveyancing solicitors or Bath or anywhere else in England for that matter, we are here to help.