How to change from joint tenants to tenants in common.
If you bought property with someone as joint tenants but now want a different arrangement, there’s a set process to make it happen. But how do you change from joint tenants to tenants in common?
Well, the good news is that – in theory – it’s free. The process is called a Severance of Joint Tenancy and can be done relatively easily too.
So long as, that is, all the parties involved agree. Here’s everything you need to know about how it works:
Joint Tenants Or Tenants In Common? How To Find Out What’s Best
When buying property together with your partner, friends, or family members, there are generally two ways you can do it. These are as joint tenants and tenants in common:
What does joint tenants mean?
If you buy as joint tenants, you split ownership of the property right down the middle. You can’t change it based on contributions to buying the property or paying the mortgage.
You also can’t choose anyone other than your partner to inherit it. If you were to predecease them, they would inherit the whole of the property. Only when the last living partner dies can they choose someone else to inherit it. This is called the Right of Survivorship.
What Does Tenants In Common Mean?
If you buy as tenants in common, you can select the percentages of the property (and even individual features when you create a document called a Deed of Trust) that each party owns.
This is great if, for example, one party will contribute more than the other to the cost of buying the house or paying the mortgage. You can also alter the agreement to reflect this if the situation changes at a later date.
Finally, you can select someone other than the other party or parties in the agreement to inherit your share of the property in your will.
Why Would You Change From Joint Tenants To Tenants In Common?
There are several common reasons why you would need or want to change from joint tenants to tenants in common:
- Separation – a sad but common reason is that a couple who bought property as joint tenants have decided to go their separate ways.
- Better tax arrangements – as well as ownership, joint tenants have equal income from a property. There are some situations where tenants in common might be better for you for tax reasons, though you need that Deed of Trust document to specify each party’s income.
- Death – if one of the joint tenants dies, you will need to change the Land Registry’s records.
How To Change From Joint Tenants To Tenants In Common
Joint tenants can choose to become tenants in common at any time through a process called Severance of a Joint Tenancy. This happens via a Land Registry form designated SEV. It’s sometimes referred to as “applying for a Form A Restriction”.
This can be done with or without mutual consent from all parties. But not having consent does make things a little more difficult:
1) If all parties agree
If there is mutual consent and agreement, the process is simple:
- Fill in form SEV – to register the Form A Restriction.
- Get supporting evidence – in the form of any requested documents.
- Send in the form and documents – that’s it! There’s no fee.
2) If all parties don’t agree
This normally occurs when there has been a disagreement or separation and not all sides want to change the tenancy. It’s not quite as smooth and easy as it is with mutual consent, but the process does exist:
- Serve notice – write a Notice of Severance to the other joint tenant informing them of your plans to change the tenancy agreement. This notice has an expected form it needs to follow, making using a conveyancing solicitor a common and sensible step.
- Fill in the SEV form and get the evidence – just as you would if all parties agreed, but with the exception below.
- Fill in an additional Form RX1 – this special form lets you register a Form A Restriction without supporting evidence from other parties involved.
These documents all need to be sent to the Land Registry’s Citizen Centre at:
HM Land Registry Citizen Centre
PO Box 74
How Much Does It Cost To Change From Joint Tenants To Tenants In Common?
It’s free to change from joint tenants to tenants in common. Or, to be more accurate, the Land Registry won’t charge you for it.
There may be other costs involved though. In most cases, it makes sense to at least consult with a specialist conveyancing solicitor to make sure you’re safe, protected, and proceeding in the right way.
Because figuring out how to change from joint tenants to tenants in common can be relatively simple. But these are important legal arrangements, so it’s always worth having expert knowledge in your corner.
Need To Talk To An Expert About Changing Your Tenancy Agreement?
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