Severance of Joint Tenancy

When a property is purchased jointly, the owners can hold it as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants.

Joint tenants

Joint Tenants own the property together, regardless of how much capital either party put into the purchase. A Right of Survivorship applies so that should one of the Joint Tenants die, their share of the property will automatically transfer to the surviving Tenant, irrespective of any wills.

Tenants in common

Tenants in Common own the property in equal or different shares. For example, if one party contributes more towards a deposit for the property, it can be agreed that they own proportionally more of the property than the other purchaser. There is no Right of Survivorship for Tenants in Common, so it is important that tenants have a will in place to determine what happens to their share.

Why sever Joint Tenancy?

It may be the case that one of the purchasers of a property held as a Joint Tenancy decides that they don’t want their share of the property to automatically transfer to the other Joint Tenant upon their death. This might be due to a relationship breakdown or some other reason. The effect of severing a Joint Tenancy is that the owners of the property become Tenants in Common, each with an equal share.

The process of severing Joint Tenancy

The process is relatively simple. A Notice of Severance is completed by the party that wishes to sever the Joint Tenancy. This Notice is served upon the other party. They need to sign, date and return it. This paperwork is then sent to the Land Registry. The Land Registry will apply a restriction to the title of the property indicating that it is now held by Tenants in Common.

If the other party does not agree to becoming a Tenant in Common, they may fail to sign or return the Notice of Severance. This being the case, the Land Registry may still agree to register the restriction on the title as long as it can be proven that the Notice of Severance was indeed served.

Contact us

It’s not an expensive process to sever a Joint Tenancy. Please give us a call or contact us online to discuss your requirements.