Understanding The Differences Between Property Ownership

Understanding The Differences Between Types Of Property Ownership Is Essential For An Understanding Of Property Law


Most People And Quite A Few Lawyers Don’t Fully Understand The Differences In Property Ownership – Here Is A Summary


Why Does The Type Of Property Ownership Matter?


The type of ownership that is chosen in a property transaction can have a fundamental effect on the finances of property owners and their beneficiaries in the event of their death or in the event of relationship breakdown and yet it is an area that many professionals, from conveyancers to many mortgage brokers just don’t have a full understanding of.

The type of ownership that is currently in place can be checked either via

  • reviewing property transfer
  • investigating property lease
  • trust deed, this is also known as a ‘declaration of trust’ (this is a document which states an owner’s share in a jointly owned property)

Here are the mains types of property ownership

Joint Tenants

This type of ownership, sometimes known as ‘beneficial joint tenants’ means that the owners of the property have equal rights to the whole of the property. With this type of ownership, clients cannot pass on the whole of the property in their will and the property automatically goes to the other owners of the property on death as all owners have equal rights to the entire property

Tenants in Common

As well as meaning that different shares are allocated to owners, the property will not automatically go to the owners in the event of death – simply because different shares are owned in the property by each owner and these can be passed on in the event of death via a will.


Clearly the type of ownership chosen can have significant implications in the event of Divorce or death and yet many London Solicitors and London Mortgage Advisers are simply unaware of the distinctions and the effect this can have on clients.