Does how you own a Property with a partner really matter?

The answer is YES!!

In an ideal world, moving house would be simple, fast, and stress-free. Unfortunately, in reality things are different. When you move house it is likely that there are a number of different factors sending your brain on overdrive.

The last thing you are going to be thinking about is: “how am I going to own/hold this property?”

In most circumstances unless your solicitor asks you, you will probably think “What is even meant by owning/holding a property?”

When you purchase a property there are two ways in which you can own the property. You can hold the property as joint tenants, or tenants in common.

Purchasing a property is huge financial step in your life. It is therefore important that you consider how the property is going to be owned.

Owning the property as joint tenants has several benefits. One of the most important benefits is that when one owner passes away, their share of the property is automatically transferred into the remaining owner’s name. However, you will need to notify the Land Registry of the change of circumstances.

When the property is owned as joint tenants you will automatically own the property in equal shares.

In contrast, if you own then property as tenants in common, when one owner passes away, the property does not automatically transfer to the remaining owner. Instead the interest in the property will revert to what is stated in the deceased Will. If a Will is not in place the Intestacy Rules will then apply. If you are an unmarried couple and there has been no provision for transferring the property, for example in a Will, then you may have difficulties remaining in your home. This is a scary thought!

The Intestacy Rules may result in the deceased share of the property being gifted to someone else. The living owner will then own the property jointly with the person whom the interest is gifted to. This can then cause difficulties as the new owner may want to sell the property.

Another important factor to consider when choosing how to hold the property, is whether you stipulate the percentage of interest each owner has in the property. This may be something to consider if one party is contributing all, or a large sum of, the deposit to the property. This can be detailed in a Declaration of Trust which is a legally binding instrument.

With the right preparations, your financial interest can be protected and future disputes are hopefully avoided.

At Watson Legal we pride ourselves in addressing each individual’s circumstances. If you require advice on how you currently own your property or if you are thinking of purchasing a property or simply would like more information, please call 01279 466910 or email

You can also get a FREE no obligation quote by clicking this link