Specialist conveyancing articles to inform you about conveyancing for a house or a flat; whether you already own your own home or if you are buying one. These are free to read and written by specialists in this area.

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Joint Ownership Form JO (Land Registry)

If you are buying a property jointly, Joint Ownership Form JO (Land Registry) can confirm exactly how you will both own it. If they choose to use this form, your solicitor sends on the completed JO form to the Land Registry after they or you and your other joint owner have signed it (see below) such that an official and legal record is made of this decision.

NB The information which is detailed on Form JO also forms a part of Form TR1 (the Land Registry's property transfer form, another of the Land Registry's forms) and, depending on which solicitor firm is conducting your conveyancing, they might have a policy either to use both or just the TR1 form. There is no legal requirement to use a Form JO.

This article looks at Form JO in the context of joint ownership and considers:

Buying a property with someone else?

We not only hand-hold you both through the process alongside our expert property solicitors, but we are also the leading provider of bespoke Deeds of Trust, which can greatly assist your ownership regarding matters such as your future intentions on selling, efficient tax planning etc.

* Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels


    What are the different ways in which you can own a property jointly with someone else?

There are essentially three ways in which you can own a property jointly with one other person. These are:
You can find out more information about what these mean both by clicking on the above links and also in the following section.

Want to view a Form JO?

Just click on HM Land Registry Form JO to view the official document.

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    What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these joint ownership types?

These depend on your intentions as joint owners.

Briefly, as joint tenants, you both own your property jointly in one 100% indivisible share and full ownership passes to the surviving owner if one of you dies. Most often, this is most often used when joint owners are married or civil partners.

As tenants in common each owning a 50% share, each of you literally owns 1/2 the value of the property but should one of you die, that person's share does not automatically pass to the other person - instead, this is determined by the deceased person's intentions expressed in a legal Last Will and Testament (click to find out more).

There is, of course, nothing to stop one tenant in common naming the other joint owner as the beneficiary of that person's share should they die. Friends and associates often jointly buy as tenants in common, but there's nothing to stop a married couple or civil partners doing so.

Joint Ownership Joint Tenants Tenants in Common and Deeds of Trust You might opt to buy jointly as tenants in common in unequal shares for a variety of reasons. It works as tenants in common 50/50 however it leaves open a large number of highly useful possibilities when combined with a Deed of Trust. At the very least, you have to state what the unequal share split will be on the JO form. However, you can instead opt to make a Declaration of Trust, summarising this position, witnessed by your conveyancer or you can refer to the existence of a Deed of Trust, which is an entirely separate document held elsewhere.

A Deed of Trust can vary from a simple document which states the percentages of the unequal split to having much more information such as instructions as to what must happen on sale of the property, whether one or more other people not mentioned on the title are to have beneficial ownership (click to find out more about beneficial ownership) and whether the ownership percentage is dynamic or floating, meaning that the percentage can change because one of the parties only might be making all the mortgage repayments for example, and thus in return requiring to be increasingly compensated over time by way of an increasing percentage share of ownership and how this is to be calculated.

One additional worthwhile point to make is that the contents of a Deed of Trust itself are entirely confidential and not a matter of public record. This allows for anonymity regarding who, for example, might be the ultimate beneficial owner of a property (although HMRC can naturally demand access to such a deed in the event of a criminal investigation).

Click for more information about Declarations of Trust

Click for more information about Deeds of Trust and their many uses.


    How and where on Form JO are your intentions as joint owners noted?

The first 4 boxes on the form are relatively simple and simply give details of who the joint owners are, the address of the property and its title number (Land Registry) and the date the form is completed. It is boxes 5 and 6 which are critical to the form, and you can both opt to fill in either box 5 or box 6 on the form.

Box 5 offers the choice between the three options mentioned but there are four boxes, because you can either simply state what the unequal percentage split ownership split is, and leave it at that, or refer to the existence of a Deed of Trust elsewhere.

If Box 5 is filled in, both joint owners must sign within the box.

Box 6 allows for your conveyancer to confirm that under a written declaration of trust you have both chosen either:
  • 1 - to own the property as joint tenants; or
  • 2 - not to hold the property as joint tenants.
The conveyancer has to sign this box rather than you and your other joint owner. The declaration of trust referred to - and seen by the conveyancer - details either the first choice (joint tenants) or the details of the second choice (tenants in common in either a 50/50 or other unequal split).

NB If Box 5 indicates anything other than that you are holding the property as joint tenants, then the Land Registry registrar must enter what is known as a Form A restriction in the Land Registry details for the property. This is discussed in the next section.


    What is a Form A restriction?

A Form A restriction essentially puts a stop on any one of the joint owners attempting to sell the property without the express permission of the other - this only applies to tenants in common.

It follows that even if one of the tenants in common dies, then their will must be sought such that any beneficiaries of the will are consulted regarding permission to sell. In the event that there is a Deed of Trust in place as declared in Form JO, then, most importantly, this must be consulted before any sale to discover the stated intentions of the tenants in common, which might, for example, involve a beneficial owner's - or the beneficial owners' - permission to sell.

The subject of Form A restrictions is a topic by itself, however, just for reference, the critical wording states the following:

"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."


    Under what circumstances is a Form JO used (answer from the Land Registry)

We asked the Land Registry under which circumstances the Form JO would be used and Deborah Churchill, a spokesperson for the Land Registry, told us the following:

"Promulgated Form JO may be lodged as an alternative to completing the trust panels in application forms AS1, AS3, TP1, TP2, TR1, TR2, TR5, FR1, ADV1 and clause 14 of a prescribed clause lease.

"It is not an application form in itself and is designed to assist joint proprietors in supplying details of any trust at the time of acquisition and to help conveyancers to address the practical difficulties faced in securing execution of a transfer by each transferee within the condensed timescale of a normal conveyancing transaction.

"If Form JO is used it must accompany an application for disposition in one of the above forms. As it is a form promulgated by the registrar under the power in a.100(4), LRA 2002 its use is voluntary."


    If you intend to own a property jointly in unequal shares, when should you make a Declaration of Trust?

If you are opting to make a Declaration of Trust or a Deed of Trust when buying a property jointly, you should formalise matters ideally just before exchange of contracts - when you can be reasonably sure that your purchase will go ahead - or at latest in the period between exchange and completion.

There are many reasons for doing this, perhaps the main one being that if you complete and then try to put in place a Deed of Trust which alters how you will own your property with your other joint owner (as tenants in common), you might be liable to pay additional stamp duty in certain situations which could have been avoided if the trust deed was put in place before you completed the purchase.


    How does a Declaration of Trust relate to a Deed of Trust?

A Declaration of Trust in the context of joint ownership is a brief statement detailing both your intentions regarding your ownership of your property. In order to be legally valid, like and legal deed, it has to be witnessed.

The Declaration of Trust however can refer to the existence of a Deed of Trust, which, as previously stated, will be an entirely separate document and this latter can, depending on its scope, be very large and complex, allowing for any number of directions and instructions etc.

Click on Declaration of Trust vs Deed of Trust to learn more about this topic.


    Can you change your joint ownership choice later?

Yes you can. To find out more about this click on Change from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common.

Buying a property with someone else?

We not only hand-hold you both through the process alongside our expert property solicitors, but we are also the leading provider of bespoke Deeds of Trust, which can greatly assist your ownership regarding matters such as your future intentions on selling, efficient tax planning etc.

* Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels

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