We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies as per our policy which also explains how to change your preferences.

Tenants in common vs joint tenancy

Buying a property with a partner or friend? Find out the differences between the two types of joint ownership - joint tenancy and tenancy in common.

In this article
Buying a property with a partner or friends Video: tenants in common vs joint tenancy  What is joint tenancy? What is tenancy in common? Should I buy as a tenant in common or a joint tenant?
Joint mortgages What are my rights under joint ownership? Ending joint ownership Get personal advice on joint mortgages

Buying a property with a partner or friends

Buying a property with another person can be an attractive option, as it means you can pool your savings towards a deposit, borrow a bigger mortgage, and share the burden of monthly repayments and any service charges.

Although it's most common for people to buy with one other person, it's actually possible for up to four people to share ownership of a property - even if they're not related.

So if you have friends or family members who you trust enough to make a major investment with, buying a property under joint ownership might be a good option.

Buying a property with a partner, family or friends?

Which? Mortgage Advisers can explain how much you can borrow and help you apply for the best joint mortgage.

Free from mobiles and landlines
Open today until 8pm
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

Video: tenants in common vs joint tenancy 

When you buy a property with another person or people, you'll either buy as 'tenants in common' or 'joint tenants'. Watch our short video to find out about the key differences between the two options.

What is joint tenancy?

As joint tenants, each person owns the whole of the property - or put another way, each person has a 100% stake in the property's value. In the eyes of the law, you must act as a single owner. That means you'll need to get one joint mortgage to cover the value of the whole property. 

If one of you dies, your part of the property automatically passes to the other owners. You can't leave part of the property to someone else in a will.

You must all agree if you want to sell the property.

Married couples that own property together would typically be joint tenants.

What is tenancy in common?

As tenants in common, you can all own a separate share of the property, and these shares don’t have to be equally sized - so for example, you may own 50% of a property, while each of your two children owns 25%.

Each owner can also leave their share of the property to whoever they choose in a will when they die.

In theory, each owner can mortgage their part of the property separately. But in reality, few - if any - mortgage lender would be willing to agree to this. So you will still normally need to take out a joint mortgage.

As with joint tenancy, you must all agree if you want to sell the property.

This type of joint ownership is typically used by friends or relatives who are buying together.

Should I buy as a tenant in common or a joint tenant?

Both types of joint ownership have pros and cons, depending on your personal circumstances and your relationship with your fellow buyers.

The table below shows some of the basic differences between the two forms of ownership.

Joint mortgages

If you're buying a property jointly with another person (or people), you'll normally need to take out a joint mortgage together.

Joint mortgages are usually shared by two people, but some lenders will allow up to four people to take out a joint mortgage together.

If there are more than two people on a mortgage, lenders will normally only take the income of the two highest earning people into account.

Remember, if you get a joint mortgage you are all equally responsible for making the repayments. So, if someone leaves or stops paying you will have to cover their payments.

If you decide that you want to look into getting a joint mortgage, it's worth getting some professional advice beforehand. The friendly team at Which? Mortgage Advisers can help you work out whether it's the right option for you and, if it is, they can also help you find the best deal based on your personal situation.

Interested in taking out a joint mortgage?

Which? Mortgage Advisers can explain how the process works and find the best deal for you.

 

Free from mobiles and landlines
Open today until 8pm
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage
 

What are my rights under joint ownership?

As joint owners, each person is the legal owner of the property. Your rights as a joint homeowner include:

  • You can't be forced to leave without a court order
  •  The property can't be sold without your agreement or a court order 
  • Additional loans can't be taken out on the property without your agreement.

When you buy a property, you will need to register all the owners with HM Land Registry. But there are two types of joint ownership you can register: 'tenants in common' and 'joint tenancy'. Each works quite differently, so it's important to decide what type of legal ownership structure is best for you and your co-owners.

Ending joint ownership

As joint property owners, you all have equal rights to live in the property - so if one person wants to sell, everyone else needs to agree. This can cause problems if, for example, you're splitting up with a partner but one of you wants to keep living in the property or one owner gets a new job and wants to relocate.

If you want to sell and the other owners don't, you may have to seek a court order. Going to court will be stressful and expensive so it's better to avoid doing this if you can.

You may want to draw up a legal agreement before moving in together that defines under what circumstances the property will be sold, how much notice is required and what proportion of the sale price each person is entitled to. All parties should take independent legal advice to make sure the agreement is written correctly and fairly represents their interests.

If you want to change from tenants in common to joint tenants - or vice versa - you can register this change with HM Land Registry free of charge with the agreement of your co-owners. 

Get personal advice on joint mortgages

If you'd like to talk to an expert adviser about your mortgage options, complete your details and Which? Mortgage Advisers will give you a free call back.

Request a FREE call back
  • Completely impartial advisers who don't work on commission
  • We'll search the whole of the market including direct deals
  • Free initial consultation - a fee is only payable if you decide to apply for a mortgage
Submit request When you complete this form your details are sent securely to Which? Mortgage Advisers. We will only contact you for your free consultation. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Correct as of date of publication.


LISTENING TO THE RIGHT MORTGAGE ADVICE?

Which? Mortgage Advisers listen carefully to what you need, then search thousands of mortgages to choose the No.1 for you, even if you can only go direct.

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines

0292 267 0302
Open today from 8am to 8pm
Arrange a call back
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up your mortgage repayments
×