Thinking of moving in with a friend, family member or significant other? You’re not alone; as house prices soar, more and more people are teaming up to make their move up the property ladder. No doubt you’ve had lots of conversations about your ideal location, price and number of bedrooms, but have you discussed the best type of property ownership?

It comes as a surprise to many buyers that co-purchasing a home is much more complicated than simply signing two names on the contract. There are actually three different ways of legally owning a property in the UK, and establishing which one is most appropriate for your situation is essential for avoiding problems later down the line.

Sole Ownership

Sole ownership is where only one person puts their name on the title deed. They are legally recognised to have full responsibility for the property, meaning that they can choose to sell it without seeking consent from other parties. Upon their death, the property will pass into probate – ownership does not automatically transfer to a living party, even if they have been living there for a number of years.

Joint Ownership

When you buy a house with someone else, it’s likely that you will opt for some form of legally-recognised joint ownership. There are two ways in which this can be done:

1 – Joint tenancy

In a joint tenancy, both parties have equal rights to the entire property. If one person should die, ownership is automatically passed, fully, to the surviving partner. Joint tenancy is commonly chosen by married couples, but may also be used in other circumstances. For example, when an elderly parent wishes to pass a property onto an only child.

2 – Tenants in common

As tenants in common, each party owns a specific share of the property making it possible for there to be more than two owners – up to four, in fact – with a different stake. If any joint owner dies, their share can be passed on according to their will and won’t automatically go to the surviving tenant(s). Co-habiting couples may prefer this option, or friends who are buying a property together.

Each type of ownership has different benefits and drawbacks depending on the buyers’ circumstances. If you’re planning to move in with someone else then you should seek independent advice beforehand to make sure your contract properly reflects your wishes.

Of course, if your situation changes at a later stage you can always change the type of ownership. Switching from being joint tenants to tenants in common (and vice versa) is relatively straightforward, and it’s always possible to update a sole ownership to include a new joint owner.

At Daily Move, our conveyancers have experience in drawing up contracts for all kinds of ownership, and also carry out transfers of equity should you ever need to make a change to the title deed. Speak to our team today for more details, either by calling us on 0845 862 2275 or by sending a message via our contact page.