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Beneficial Joint Tenants of Property

(Last Updated: 21/04/2022)
5 min read
Beneficial joint tenants is a type of ownership of land and property in England and Wales; the other being tenants in common. As joint tenants you have an undivided share of the whole property. Up to 4 people can own the same property as joint tenants (you cannot have more than 4 parties registered at the Land Registry).

The property is undivided, meaning the joint owners equally own 100% of the property together. If any of the joint owners dies, the surviving owners continue to own the property 100%. We discuss the implications of this, including joint tenants with right of survivorship.

You can compare ways to co-own property in our article beneficial joint tenants vs tenants in common.

Beneficial Joint Tenants Meaning

Law of Property Act 1925, Section 34 - Effect of future dispositions to tenants in common, states "(1) An undivided share in land shall not be capable of being created except as provided by the Settled Land Act, 1925, or as hereinafter mentioned."

(2)Where, after the commencement of this Act, land is expressed to be conveyed to any persons in undivided shares and those persons are of full age, the conveyance shall (notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Act) operate as if the land had been expressed to be conveyed to the grantees, or, if there are more than four grantees, to the four first named in the conveyance, as joint tenants in trust for the persons interested in the land:

Provided that, where the conveyance is made by way of mortgage the land shall vest in the grantees or such four of them as aforesaid for a term of years absolute (as provided by this Act) as joint tenants subject to cesser on redemption in like manner as if the mortgage money had belonged to them on a joint account, but without prejudice to the beneficial interests in the mortgage money and interest.

As the land cannot be divided, the joint owners can't state have unequal beneficial joint tenants. For example, 2 joint tenants cannot state that either owns a share in property that isn't 100% jointly, so any income is shared 50/50 between them. To have unequal shares you'll have to sever the joint tenancy: How to share beneficial ownership in unequal shares.

Frequently Asked Questions about Beneficial Joint Tenants

When joint tenants own a property they own it 100% together which means that if one of the owners dies, the property remains 100% beneficially owned by the other owner.

If the property is held as tenants in common then read more here - What happens if you die as tenants in common.

When joint tenants own a property they own it 100% together which means that if one of the joint tenants dies, the property remains 100% beneficially owned by the other joint tenant/s. We say joint tenants, because whilst most joint tenants are married, you have have a joint tenancy with anyone to a maximum of 4 people.

You hold equal rights to the whole of a property you share ownership of as joint tenants. The shares in the property are 50/50, i.e. equal and cannot be otherwise.

The co-owners must mutually agree to sell the property or you can get a court order to force the sale. The proceeds of sale should be shared equally unless there is a dispute that the tenancy was severed. Read more >> How do you force a sale?

If a co-owner is made bankrupt then the equity in the property will be used to pay off the debts of the co-owner.
Yes you can. The process is called Severing the Joint Tenancy and you can do this by completing a SEV form. Read more >> Change from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common

Want to know more, including how you can protect your individual property rights as tenants in common? Call 0333 344 3234 Local call charges apply) or email us at
If you do not know if you purchased the property as joint tenants of tenants in common then you can download your title deeds from the Land Registry by clicking here. If you purchased as tenants in common it will have a Form A restriction which states:

"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."
The decision of how you hold the property is chosen by you and the joint owner. With this said, you would normally not buy the property as joint tenants until you are married or are in a longer term relationship. The reason for this is that until you get married, the laws in England and Wales offer very little (if any) protection and as such you should protect both of your individual interests and reflect these separately to each using a deed of trust and buying as tenants in common. Read more >> What a deed of trust can protect.
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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