Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common – Which Option Should you Choose in UK?

Many people today are still confused on how joint tenancy is different from tenancy in common. When you decide on shifting your house or purchasing a new property, conveyance specialists like my conveyancing specialist ask you this question about how you want to own the property; whether you like to be the joint tenants or tenants in common.

In UK, whether you own a property with your wife, together you both own it with a third person, or you own it with any other individual(s), there are 2 popular ways in which you can hold the title of your property – joint tenancy and tenancy in common. Both the options make you a joint owner. But there is still a difference between the two.

Let’s find out how these 2 popular options differ from each other. But before that, here is a key note – “tenancy” here refers to ownership, and not when you rent out a property. This article covers the basic difference between Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common, along with how the ownership and survivorship is treated in each.

Joint Tenancy

Joint Tenancy, also called Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship, means that you are the joint owner of a property. In this case, ALL the supposed joint tenants have to appear at the time of making of deed. From the same joint tenancy deed, all the tenants must take the title.

In addition to this, all the tenants are equal partners in the property as will be specified in the joint tenancy agreement. Their share is same, and all have to take decisions together, appearing as a single owner.

If one of the owners in a joint tenancy dies, his interest automatically gets transferred to the surviving joint tenants. But, joint tenancy also allows you to sell your interests to a third person. And in that case, the arrangement would turn from joint tenancy to tenancy in common. You can also look at the advantages and disadvantages of joint tenancy to understand the concept much better.

Tenancy in Common

Now there is another popular option which people are preferring in UK – tenants in common. 2 or more people can own a property as tenants in common. This is similar to joint tenants in a way that all are the joint owners of a property. But all do not have to be present at the time of making a deed. They can come into ownership at different times as well.

Also, it is upon the tenants if they would like to have same share in the property or different percentages. For example, one can own 60% and the other can own 40%. The property is transferred to the new tenants when the previous existing tenant transfers his share to the new tenant. They can either acquire property from same tenant, or each partner can acquire share of the property from different previous owners at different times.

The tenants in common can also sell their share of property individually at their own will. In case of the death of one of the owners, the property would be inherited by his or her heirs. The other owner/owners will continue to retain their share of the property. Or the remaining partners can also inherit the deceased partner’s shares if that partner mentions so in his or her part of the will.

This can end if one partner buys out the shares of all the other partners. In that case, tenancy in common is broken, and a single owner remains.

So what should you choose?

Should you be the joint tenants or tenants in common?

If you are a married couple, then ‘joint tenants’ is the best option for you. Here, there is no separate advantage to owning a different share of the property. And in case of the death of one of the spouses, the property is automatically transferred to the remaining tenant (spouse in this case).

But if you wish to pass one of the spouse’s property to the children automatically, then the same married couple can go for being ‘tenants in common’. So if we look at the advantage of being tenants in common, then here are some of the pointers worth considering.

  • Your children are protected with the inheritance even if the remaining spouse decides to remarry.
  • You can write your wishes for your property in your will. So only you will be able to change it if you need to do that.
  • You are also saved from the inheritance tax.

So choosing which option you want – joint tenancy or tenancy in common, depends on what you want to do with the property if one of the partner dies. And to decide that and make your process easy and smooth, estate planners or conveyance specialists come into the aid. They will help you make the right choices and make this complicated process easy for you.

Hence, if you are planning on moving from your current property, or are looking for purchasing other properties, meet your estate planner or a conveyance specialist right now. We hope by now you are clear on the 2 popular tenancy processes in UK.

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