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Joint property ownership

When two or more people own land together they (or the survivor of them) own the legal title together as a group and cannot split it into separate individual shares. However the beneficial ownership can be held in different ways. The owners can choose to be:

It is important to have the right type of beneficial ownership for your particular circumstances as it could affect issues such as wills, tax, long term care and relationship breakdown.

Your conveyancer should help you decide which type of joint beneficial ownership is best for you. We cannot advise you

When we talk about "joint ownership"  in this guide, we mean the beneficial ownership of land or property.

Finding out what type of joint ownership you have

We cannot tell you which kind of joint ownership you have. People often think that a joint ownership restriction in their title register means that they are tenants in common. But that is not always the case as the same restriction can be registered for other reasons. For example, we have to enter this restriction when we register joint owners but it is not clear what type of joint ownership they have.

There may be information about the type of joint ownership in:

  • a transfer to you, or
  • a lease to you, or
  • a ‘trust deed’, which is sometimes used to state each owners share in a property when they are tenants in common particularly where joint owners are not related and pay different amounts of money for the property (we do not normally have copies of trust deeds), or
  • a will under which you inherited the property, or
  • a deed which gifted the property to you, or
  • application forms sent to us when we registered you as owner(s), for example:
    • application form FR1, or
    • application form AP1, or
    • application form ADV(1), or
    • form JO (if you were registered as joint owner(s) on or after 15 October 2012),
    • transfer to you, or
    • lease to you.

If you have used any of the above forms you can get copies of them from us, for a fee; see 'How can I get copies of deeds and documents held by Land Registry?.

If there is no record of your type of ownership, or it isn’t what you thought you agreed, you should speak to your conveyancer about it.

Changing the type of joint ownership

You can change you type of beneficial ownership from:

Has my type of joint ownership changed?

Your type of joint ownership may have changed since you acquired the property because:

  • We may have been given the wrong or incomplete information when you were registered as owner(s), so that a joint ownership restriction may have been wrongly entered or left out.

(We must enter a joint ownership restriction when we register joint owners but it is not clear from the application form and/or deeds sent to us that the owners are beneficial joint tenants.)

  • A joint ownership restriction may not yet have been cancelled even though you now own all the shares in the property, or following a failed claim to a share in the property
  • Some events, such as the bankruptcy of a beneficial joint tenant or a charging order in favour of one of their creditors may have changed your kind of ownership without you realising it. In such cases the law splits the property automatically into the same number of shares as there were beneficial joint tenants. (For  example, if there were two joint tenants, this split means that they would each have a half share as tenants in common.)

Changing from a joint tenancy to a tenancy in common

This is called ‘severance of joint tenancy’. If you choose to make this change, you normally do it by:

  • serving a notice of severance on the other owner(s), or
  • entering into a new trust deed with the other owner(s) (or changing an existing trust deed).

Severance may also happen without you knowing about it, for example where one joint owner becomes bankrupt, or tries to mortgage the property on their own without the other owner(s).

Severance may affect matters other than your property ownership. We would always recommend discussing the implications with your conveyancer who should be able to advise you on whether you should sever the joint tenancy and the best way to do this.

If you do decide to sever your joint tenancy, you must apply to Land Registry to enter a joint ownership restriction in the register.

Application made by only one or some of the owners

You must fill in and send us either a:

You must also send in:

  • A copy of a new (or changed) trust deed signed by all the owners


  • A certified copy of the notice of severance given by one owner to the other(s) signed by the owner(s) to whom the notice was sent,


  • A certified copy of the notice of severance given by one owner to the other(s) and a certificate by the person making the application confirming that the notice was either:
    • Given to the other owner(s), or 
    • Left at their last known residential or business address in the UK, or
    • Sent by registered post or recorded delivery to them at their last known residential or business address and has not been returned as undelivered.

Find out where to send your applications

You do not have to pay a fee or include any covering letter.

Application made by all the owners

You must fill in and send us either a:

We do not require any additional supporting information. But the person(s) making the application, or their conveyancer, must sign the application form.

Find out where to send your applications.

You do not have to pay a fee or include any covering letter.

Changing from a tenancy in common to a joint tenancy

This is normally done by a new or changed trust deed entered into by all the owners. Your conveyancer will advise you.

You only need to tell us about the change if there is already a joint ownership restriction on your register (which there should be). If you want to check this, you need to get a copy of your title register, see How can I get a copy of a title register and/or title plan? If there is a joint ownership restriction you will need to apply to cancel it.

Note: If the joint ownership changed because of some event such as bankruptcy of a joint owner then it may not be possible to change back to a joint tenancy and you should speak to your conveyancer. 

To cancel the joint ownership restriction

Fill in and send us:

  • Form RX3 'Application to cancel a restriction' (PDF, 46.5KB), signed by all owners or by a conveyancer on behalf of all owners
  • Supporting evidence, either:
    • The original or a certified copy of the new or changed trust deed showing that everyone with a share or interest in the property agrees to the change
    • A certified copy of a transfer showing that all the owners of shares in the property transfer their shares to all the beneficial joint tenants
    • A certificate given by a conveyancer that all the owners of shares in the property have entered into a deed in one of the forms referred to above.

This supporting evidence must confirm that:

  • All of you together own all of the shares in the property and nobody else owns any other share in the property.
  • None of you have burdened your individual shares, for instance by
    • Mortgaging your share in the property
    • Being made bankrupt
    • Having a charging order made against your share in the property.
  • You now all hold the property as beneficial joint tenants

If the supporting evidence does not cover these points, you will need to provide additional evidence to confirm them. This is usually by the registered owners supplying either:

We will accept a certificate by a conveyancer acting for the registered owners in place of the declaration or statement if they can speak from their knowledge of the facts.

Find out where to send your applications

You do not need to pay a fee or include a covering letter.


Beneficial joint tenants

Beneficial joint tenants own the legal title and the beneficial interest in a property jointly as a group. They do not own specific shares in a property so cannot leave their ownership of the property in their will. When one joint owner dies, the property automatically passes to the other owner(s).

Tenants in common

Tenants in common also own the legal title in a property jointly, but they have a specific beneficial share in it too. Tenants in common can sell or borrow against their share; they can also give it away or leave it to someone else in their will. Sometimes details of their particular shares are recorded in a document called a “deed of trust” (we do not normally have copies of these).

When people are tenants in common, Land Registry places an entry called a joint ownership restriction in the register. This restriction limits the power of a single owner to sell the property or deal with it in other ways.

Joint ownership restriction, also known as "Form A" restriction

The restriction reads: "No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court."

Certified copy

This is a copy of a document which:

  • the applicant, or
  • a conveyancer, or
  •  someone signing on the applicant's behalf,

 has certified on the copy itself that it is a true copy of the original document and also signed it and added their name and address. If someone certifies the copy on behalf of the applicant, it should be clear from the certification that they are signing it on the applicant's behalf.


A statement made by a conveyancer which certifies that the facts set out are true. 

Statutory declaration

A sworn statement made before a solicitor, barrister, Justice of the Peace or other commissioner for oaths, in the form set out in the Schedule to the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.

The declaration contains the words "...and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true...". There are penalties if you make a false declaration.

Statement of truth

A statement in writing which is made in support of an application as an alternative to a statutory declaration. It need not be sworn or witnessed, but the person making it must sign it and include the words, ‘I believe that the facts and matters contained in this statement are true’.

A false statement is a contempt of court, which may lead to a prison sentence or other penalties.

Further information

House Price Index

May 2014: 276.6

(Jan 1995 = 100)

Avg. price £172,035 Change:
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Annual 6.7%
Next index: 9.30am, 28 July 2014

New guidelines for supporting documents coming on 30 June

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