When a property is owned by one or more people (including partners and spouses) ownership is either:-

  • Beneficial Joint Tenants ( Or )
  • Tenants in common
It is important to understand the differences between the two types of ownership particularly if you have a mortgage or if you are about to prepare a will.

Tenants in Common

When you own a property as 'tenants in common' you are regarded in law as having separate shares in the property. Often the shares are held on a 50/50 basis, but it can be more specific with shares sometimes allocated in accordance with the amount of money introduced by one party. In the event of the death of a Tenant-in-Common their share of the property passes to the beneficiary in their will.

Beneficial Joint Tenants Explained

When a property is owned as 'beneficial joint tenants' the property belongs to you and the other owner or owners jointly. There is no separate distinction between owners and you are all seen as a single owner.

There will not be any specific shares in the property and you cannot give away a share of the property in your Will. In the event of death of one of the joint tenants, legally your interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving owner or owners.

Often this is the form of ownership is chosen by married couples or civil partners, where these parties are content for the survivor to be the absolute owner. The ownership of the property held on a Joint Tenants basis cannot be altered by a Will. A Will made by a Joint Tenant, which tries to leave the property to anyone other than another legal Joint Tenant would be ineffective!