York - 01904 716000
Wetherby - 01937 583210
Malton - 01653 692247
Wetherby 01937 583210
Malton 01653 692247
Owning Property Jointly

Owning Property Jointly, Solicitors York, Wetherby & Malton

If you are buying, acquiring or holding property jointly with someone else it is important that everyone understands the basis of joint ownership from the beginning.

There are two sorts:

("Tenant" does not have its usual meaning of someone paying in rent in either case).

Joint Tenants

Joint Tenancy is the form of joint ownership where two or more people own the property together on the basis that:

  • On any sale of the property, the proceeds of sale are automatically divided equally between the parties, regardless of the contributions they may have made to the original purchase price, subsequent improvements etc.
  • If any joint owner dies, his/her share automatically passes to the surviving owner(s). This transfer happens without payment and is not affected by any Will the deceased owner may have made.


Tenants-in-Common is the form of joint ownership where two or more people together own property and their shares in the property are specified, e.g. Y and Z may own property jointly as tenants-in-common in equal shares or unequal shares, for example, a three-quarter share for Y and a quarter share for Z. This form of ownership can, therefore, record differing shares to reflect contributions such as where one party has provided more of the purchase money than the other. The effect of owning property as Tenants-in-Common is as follows:

  • On any sale, the proceeds of sale are distributed between the owners in accordance with their stated shares.
  • If any owner dies, his/her share does not automatically pass to the other owner(s), but will form part of the deceased owner's estate and will therefore pass to either the beneficiaries under the deceased owner's Will, or, if no Will has been made, to his/her next of kin.


If two or more people own property as Joint Tenants it is possible to "sever the joint tenancy" and change it to a Tenancy-in-Common where the shares would automatically be equal shares unless agreed otherwise by both owners.

It is not necessary to have the agreement of the other owner(s) for this change in joint ownership to happen. A person may wish to do this if, say, he or she was in dispute with or separating from his/her joint owner(s) or for some other reason such as inheritance tax planning.

For inheritance tax planning reasons we would recommend that joint owners of property switch from owning their property as Joint Tenants to Tenants-in-Common.

Contact our Residential Property Solicitors in Yorkshire

The residential property team at Ware & Kay can provide clear, jargon-free legal advice. Whether you are a first-time buyer or experienced property investor, our lawyers are on hand to guide you through every stage of the conveyancing process. With over 200 years advising clients in Yorkshire, Ware & Kay solicitors are ideally placed to assist you.

To discuss your residential property transaction, call us today on 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby) or 01653 692247 (Malton), or complete our online contact form.


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Holly Stevens Bio
Holly Stevens Director - Residential Property
York Office

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Michael Peach Bio
Michael Peach Non-Executive Director
Wetherby Office

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Lucy Gilman
Lucy Gilman Associate Director & Head of Wetherby Office
Wetherby Office

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Joanne Clark Associate - Residential Property
Wetherby Office

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Heather Mackins Associate, Head of Residential Property
Malton Office

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