Co-ownership of property
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3 July 2013
If you buy a property with someone else - be it husband, wife, partner,
friend or family member, it is important to ensure your intentions
about the co-ownership are clear to avoid possible difficulties in the
There are two forms of co-ownership – joint tenants or tenants in
common. When a property is owned as joint tenants the property is owned
wholly by each owner, there are no divisible shares. The essential
feature of joint tenants is the survivorship principle. This
essentially means that when one co-owner dies, that co-owner’s interest
in the property will legally pass to the surviving owner(s). Upon their
death(s) the sole survivors will be the sole owners of the property and
the property will pass to their estate. However, when owning a property
as tenants in common the co-owners own the property in distinct shares
and when one co-owner dies their share will not automatically pass to
the surviving owner(s).
The importance of getting your choice right is highlighted by the
recent case of Pankhania V Chandegra (2012). This case involved an aunt
and her nephew buying a house together and co-owning the property as
tenants in common in equal shares. The aunt lived at the property with
her husband. The aunt later claimed that the property had been
purchased for her as sole beneficial owner and as her marital
home. However the nephew claimed that the property had been
purchased for his uncle to live in and as an investment property for
himself and his aunt. The Court had to decide whether there was an
underlying agreement between the aunt and nephew which could displace
the tenancy in common ownership and the conclusion reached by the Court
of Appeal was that there was not.
There are several cases where co-ownership has been brought
Courts, therefore it is clearly an area where co-owners need to think
long and hard about how they will own their property together.
About the Author
Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team
of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business,
business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property.
Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all
aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and
dismissal procedures. Visit
www.lawson-west.co.uk for more information.
Contact Rita Raj at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000 to
your options and for help in making the right decision.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-07-11 09:03:20 in Legal Articles