If you buy a property together with another person who isn’t your husband or wife, there are some steps you need to take in order to protect your investment legally. Although you may get on well currently, if you fall out in the future, you need to know how you stand legally with the property.

Consult a solicitor about a deed of trust, which gives the power of sale. If the other property owner disappears or you have a fall out, you will be able to sell the house without obstruction from the other party. Owning a property jointly, with a 50:50 share is the simplest solution. If one person dies the property automatically belongs to the surviving person.

It is always a good idea to make a will so that if anything should happen to you, the property will belong to whoever you name in the will, presumably your co-owner. If one owner dies without leaving a will, the existing owner can’t do anything about the other share of the property and may be prevented from selling the property.

It is commonly believed that when a man and woman live together without being married, they are common law husband and wife, but this is a myth. Unless the property is in joint names, with each having a 50:50 share, the property wouldn’t automatically revert to the surviving partner if one person died. The laws around home ownership are so complex that it is often better to ask a mortgage adviser for assistance. As they have attended a CeMAP course, they are more likely to be able to offer advice.

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