Joint ownership (sometimes called co-ownership) occurs when two or more people become the legal owners of a property.
The information in this guide explains how to check whether your title is a joint tenant or tenants in common and how to change proprietorship.
Buying, inheriting, or becoming a trustee of a property with someone else, means you would need to choose one of the joint of ownership types.
Hence, you must decide whether it will be 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common' when registering land or property with HM Land Registry (HMLR).
This is important because it will affect what you can do with the property (e.g. if a relationship breaks down, or a joint owner dies).
As a joint tenant, you:
Being titled as tenants in common means you:
There is no fee to change from being (either):
Note: You can transfer ownership of your property (e.g. change from sole ownership to joint tenants or tenants in common). The most common reason for transferring ownership is to add a partner as a joint owner.
The documentation that you have will show the type of joint ownership of property. Hence, you can find out by checking whether you have a:
Even so, there are other ways to check what type of joint ownership you have, such as by hiring the services of a conveyancer, legal executive, or a solicitor.
Note: Joint property ownerships can change by automatic process (e.g. if one of the other owners is applying for bankruptcy).
You should use application form SEV to enter a Form A restriction on severance of joint tenancy by agreement or notice (e.g. change from joint tenants to tenants in common).
There is no need to get agreement from any other owners to make this type of joint ownership change. Even so, a conveyancer, legal executive, or a solicitor can make the application on your behalf.
Follow these three steps to make an application when the other owners are in agreement to the change:
HM Land Registry
PO Box 74
The notice of severance (e.g. signed by all the owners) should be the original or a certified copy. Another section explains how to certify a document in greater detail.
What if you cannot get signatures from the other owners? In this case, you can send a letter certifying that you (any):
The first step is to get agreement from all the other joint owners. Then, to change from being tenants in common to joint tenants, you would need to:
You must include at least one of the following documents:
You would also need to include (either):
Furthermore, the statement of truth must:
Any supporting documentation must prove (all):
In cases where an owner has lost mental capacity (e.g. they are unable to make decisions for themselves), you would usually need to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to sell the property.
As a result, losing mental capacity generally means:
It would be necessary to appoint another person to act on behalf of the owner who lost mental capacity even in situations where:
Note: Having a registered power of attorney means you may not need to apply to the Court of Protection. You can read further guidance about selling jointly owned property (COP GN2) on the GOV.UK website.
Some of the official forms and documents you would need to download and fill in, include:
Note: There may be additional fees if the court decides to set up a hearing. Form COP44A explains how to apply for help with Court of Protection (COP) fees.
Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
Telephone: 0300 456 4600
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Learn about phone call charges
Important: Even though you can visit the public counter or write to the Court of Protection, the staff are unable to give out legal advice.
Send the original application form to the Court of Protection, along with one (1) copy of (all):
You would get a copy of your application forms from the Court of Protection (stamped with an issue date) around one week after making an application.
Following that, you would need to 'serve notice' (tell anyone named in your application) that you are applying. It must happen within fourteen (14) days of the issue date, by sending them (both):
Note: You can tell people about your application by fax, by post to their home address, or in person.
The next step is to fill in the 'certificates of service' and send them to the Court of Protection within seven (7) days of serving the documents (to confirm you them):
Note: You can read further guidance about attending a hearing at the Court of Protection in London or at one of the regional courts. Another section explains how to update property records after appointing someone to act for an owner who lost mental capacity.
You can use Form COP9 to ask for a decision to be reconsidered when an application gets rejected and there was no hearing. This service is free of charge but you must apply within twenty one (21) days of the decision.
You can use Form COP35 (appellant's notice) to appeal the decision when an application is rejected and an oral hearing took place.
Apply within twenty one (21) days of the decision or within the time limit set out by the judge who rejected the application.
Note: You can contact the Court of Protection to make an emergency application (e.g. to stop someone lacking mental capacity from being removed from the property where they are living).
How Joint Property Ownership Works in the United Kingdom