Joint Tenancy / Tenants in Common
Where property is owned by two or more people, it is vital that they consider how they wish to hold their shares in the property.
This can be either as ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’.
Under a joint tenancy, all of the owners are entitled to the whole of the property. The key feature of a joint tenancy is the right of survivorship – on the death of one owner, his or her share will automatically pass to the survivor(s).
Tenancy in common
The other type of joint ownership is called a ‘tenancy in common’. Tenants in common each own a distinct beneficial share (not necessarily 50/50) in the property. On the death of one owner, his or her share will pass in accordance with thier Will (to whom ever they wish) or, if there is no Will, under the law of intestacy.
Changing to a tenancy in common
Changing from a joint tenancy into a tenancy in common is called a 'severance', and involves one joint tenant giving a notice to the other(s). The register of title for the property will then have to be amended. However there is no Land Registry fees or Stamp Duty Land Tax payable .
Changing to a joint tenancy
It is also possible to convert a tenancy in common into a joint tenancy. This involves the preparation of a Declaration of Trust signed by the tenants in common. Again, the register of title has to be altered but, as before, no Land Registry fees or Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable.