Joint tenants or tenants in common?

A story in The Observer this weekend highlights the importance of using a good mortgage advisor when you purchase a property.

Patricia Jones and her partner Leonard Kernott bought a semi-detached together in 1985. Jones paid the deposit and her boyfriend didn’t contribute to her mortgage. Kernott moved out 17 years ago and has since purchased his own property. Yet an appeals court has ruled that Kernott is entitled to 50% of the value of the house because they bought as ‘joint tenants’.

Many couples owning a home today probably could not tell you if they own their property as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Some would even agree that it was just one in ‘a pile of forms’ that they didn’t altogether understand.

When two people buy a house together there are two ways to do so. If you buy as joint tenants, then they own the property 50:50 and, should one partner die, then their share automatically goes to the remaining partner. If they buy as tenants in common, then they can leave an exact share to whoever they wish in their will.

When buying a property, most couples don’t want to think that they might split up. Things can change drastically even whilst the couple is still together for instance, if one partner starts to earn more than the other and contributes more to the mortgage.

Whether you own a property as joint tenants or as tenants in common, it can be changed quite easily at any point.

If a relationship ends, then you should sort these things as soon as possible perhaps even using mediation. If you go to court, it is difficult to demonstrate evidence that is strong enough to overturn the joint tenancy paperwork – and can prove too expensive.

For those who wish to study to become a mortgage advisor, they would undergo CeMAP training. This training includes covering the definition of such terms and the impact of such decisions as well as other topics of mortgage insurance, mortgage payments and the different types of home loans.



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