By Adrian Castledine

When two or more people are buying a property together, it is not enough just to have the property registered in their joint names. They must also decide what kind of ownership they have as joint owners. There is more than one type of joint ownership and property buyers can decide which option best suits their needs and circumstances.The options include:

Joint tenants

This ownership status gives both parties an equal share in the ownership of a property. This is the option commonly used by couples buying property together. If one party should die, the property will automatically be given to the other joint tenant. You can't transfer ownership to anyone else in your will as this would violate the rights of the other owner.

Tenants in common

This option is suitable for joint owners who wish or need to have different shares in the property. This is often determined by how much each party contributes towards the purchase of the property. These arrangements can also be further documented by a Declaration of Trust prepared at the same time as the Transfer Deed. Tenants in common arrangements can also be used when property is purchased by more than two people, such as a number of people sharing a large property. The property isn't automatically passed on to the other owners when a person dies. Instead, tenants in common can pass on their share of the property to beneficiaries of their choosing in their will.

For help deciding which of these options is best for you when buying a property and whether a Declaration of Trust would be advisable, it is a good idea to consult a legal expert specialising in property. Please contact the conveyancing department at any of our offices and we will be happy to discuss this.


As well as deciding on an ownership type when you first purchase a property with one or more people, you can also choose to change the ownership of a property. The circumstances of why you may wish to do this include:

  • When a couple divorces or separates, the best option can be to change from joint tenants to tenants in common. This will mean that either person can leave their share of the property to someone else in there will.
  • If you wish to add a new partner to the ownership of your property, you can change from sole ownership to a joint ownership arrangement.
  • When a couple gets married, they may wish to have equal rights the property and change ownership from tenants in common to joint tenants.


    If you're unclear as to whether you are tenants in common or joint tenants, we will be happy to help. We can check the property deeds to find the information you need, as well as offering advice as to whether this is the best arrangement for you. If you wish to change the type of joint property ownership you have, our conveyancing department at Robert Barber Solicitors aim to make this as simple and stress-free as possible.

    10th January, 2019