Joint Tenancy Severance

Joint Tenancy Severance

When you own your property jointly with someone else, either as a married couple, friends or partners for life, you will have chosen (whether you remember or not,) one of two different types of ways of owning your home (or other property.)

  • You will own your property by a legal term known as ‘Beneficial Joint Tenants,’ or ‘Tenants in Common.’

It doesn’t matter whether you own the property as freeholders or leaseholders, for either to apply, but the term ‘tenants’ does not refer to renting from a landlord in these circumstances as it means you own the property, or part of it.

When you purchased your property, your conveyancer will have helped you to decide which of the two ways you are going to own your property. Both have advantages and disadvantages and you can change your mind later, but it isn’t always easy and there will no doubt be some type of fee to make the change. The Land Registry is not allowed to help you decide which kind of ownership is best for you.

Beneficial joint tenancy

When you own the property as beneficial joint tenants it means the property belongs to you and the other owners, jointly. You all group together as a single owner, which is important when you sell or remortgage a property. You don’t own a specific share of the property and you can’t give part of it away in a Will. If you should die, your entire interest in the property will pass automatically to the other owners.

Uk house


When you are own a property as Tenants-in-Common it means that a share of the property is owned by you specifically and the other share is owned by the people who you share the tenancy with ( you don’t have top hold equal shares). You can give away, sell or mortgage your share and should you die while you own an interest in the property, the value of the property will pass to the beneficiary you name, in your Last Will and Testament.

When you own a property as Tenants-in-Common, the Land Registry will add a notice to the date information they hold, so that the property cannot be sold, without you knowing about it.

Why change from a beneficial joint tenancy to a tenancy-in-common?

There are many advantages from owning your own share of your property, but each require that you have a Last Will and Testament written, so that you nominate who is to receive your share, because there might be enormous difficulties if your share does not automatically go to a certain person and the other part owner might be required and forced to sell the property, to be able to pass on your share.

Where you own a property as Tenants-in-Common, you may wish to leave your share direct to your children and not your partner in life, especially if you have separated or are awaiting a divorce. By changing ownership from a beneficial joint tenancy to a Tenancy-in-Common, you can ensure that your share can eventually go to your children and not move sideways when your partner remarries after your death, causing your children to potentially miss out on their expected inheritance.

Nursing home: Will you be forced to sell your home?

Some people suggest that you can keep a larger share of your property in the future, should either you or your partner need to go into a nursing home, when you own your property, as a Tenants-in-Common. You should take expert professional advice if this is a reason why you wish to own your property in a certain way. will be pleased to complete the necessary paperwork to change your ownership from a beneficial joint tenancy to a tenancy in common, but will not offer advice as to the reasons why you should make the change. If you wish to meet with a professional who will discuss this matter with you in detail, so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for you, we will be pleased to direct you to a professional who will visit you at your home, anywhere in the UK.

Please contact us for further information on this subject.