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Ownership of property is traditionally thought of as being a very simple area of the law.  However it can at times be quite complicated, depending on the number of people that are interesting in owning a property, and the way in which they decide to structure their ownership.

Here we provide an overview of the law regarding ownership of property, specifically the situation regarding multi and shared ownership.

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership tends to involve no more than two people, who both want to own a property equally.  In these circumstances the legal avenue they will most likely be interested in is called ‘Joint Tenancy’. The title can be a little misleading, but has some very important consequences in law:

Joint Tenants own a property equally between them. The property cannot be split into two equal ‘shares’ as it is owned in its entirety by both individuals;

Anything that concerns the property must be agreed by both Tenants, including any decisions to sell the property in the future. It is very important to be aware that property owned in Joint Tenancy cannot be given away in a Will.

What is Multi Ownership?

Multi Ownership is sometimes better known by its legal name, ‘Tenancy in Common’.  It tends to involve a number of people, i.e. more than two, who want to own a property. This arrangement is quite different to that of ‘Shared Ownership’:

Property that is owned under a ‘Tenancy in Common’ can be divided up however the tenants wish, e.g. the share of ownership is determined on the sum contributed to purchase the property;
Unlike ‘Shared Ownership’, the share of a property owned under a ‘Tenancy in Common’ can be used however the tenant wishes e.g. you could sell your share, or even set out that it is to be given to someone in your Will when you are no longer alive.  

It is very important to be aware that there are different rules that apply, depending on the type of ownership of property that you are interested in. These rules are not widely known, and can be quite complicated if you have not had experience in dealing with them in the past. It is very important that you consider which option reflects your needs, and take specialist legal advice on what this would mean for you.

At Lewis Nedas, we have a great deal of experience in advising on the law regarding property ownership.  We have a dedicated team of specialist Property lawyers who will be able to advise you on the different options available, and set out in detail how each option would impact on you as an owner. We understand that you may have questions regarding how the law of property ownership may impact you in the long term, and whether or not you may be disadvantaged by option for one ownership structure over another. We are here to help.  If you have any questions, please contact us now.

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