Whether you're in the midst of purchasing your first home or signing on the dotted line for your second property it is paramount that you know and understand your homeowner rights.
Where the law is concerned, joint tenants are to be considered as one. Essentially, this means that joint tenants are regarded by the law as owning the whole of the property without any separate share or distinction between them. Further, neither tenant is able to mortgage their proportion of the property nor can they pass on their share of the property within a will as it will automatically pass to the surviving tenant. However, the sole survivor of the joint tenancy can sell the property and will need to provide a death certificate in order to prove their title of ownership in order to do so. This is a very convenient and common form of ownership between a husband and wife and provides that the parties are content for the survivor to be the absolute owner of the property.
Where co - owners are not married or have provided different contributions to the purchase price they will often choose to be tenants in common. The law recognises tenants in common as having separate or distinct shares thus allowing them to sell their share of the property. On the death of a co - owner, their share of the property will pass under the terms of their will; otherwise, the laws of intestacy will apply enabling a trustee to be appointed before the property can be sold.
Alternatively, some people may choose to purchase a property with a number of people thus entering into a tenancy in common. In theory, each tenant could find their own mortgage agreement; however, it is difficult to locate a mortgage lender that would agree to such circumstances. Furthermore, a tenancy in common means that each person can leave their share of the property to a person of their choosing within their will rather than a co - tenant.
Should you not be in a position to purchase a property or enter into a mortgage on your own then you may wish to enter into a shared ownership. This enables a buyer to purchase a property with a stake in the mortgage and then pay rent on the remaining share of the property to a housing association or developer. Whilst this seems an attractive option, it is important to remember that whilst the rent that shared owners are required to pay to the housing association or developer may be discounted; purchasing a higher share in the mortgage can be costly. Not to mention, the property is also likely to be leasehold meaning that shared owners may be required to contribute to maintenance charges and restrictions. Whatever your situation, whether buying, renting or renovating, knowing your rights is undoubtedly the guide to a happy home.