Severance of Joint Tenancy with a couple chopping their house in half
Do you want to sever your joint tenancy?
We can help whether for income tax reasons on an investment property or because you are splitting up with a joint tenant.

We can have the application with the Land Registry within days and our fees are fixed and competitive.
 
 

Severance of joint tenancy

26/01/2023
(Last Updated: 06/06/2023)
12,098
9 min read
Key Takeaways
  • When there is more than one legal owner of a property, it can be held as 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common'
  • In order to hold separate shares, you must be tenants in common. As joint tenants you share 100% of the property, equally
  • The severance of joint tenancy, to become tenants in common, can be done in as little as one week
  • Owning separate shares protects your ownership, changes inheritance and may even save you some money in tax

At any time one or more co-owners of a property which is held as joint tenants want to separate your shares, you can sever your joint tenancy. It reverts the ownership of the property to tenants in common, so the owners need to agree the beneficial interest split they both own in the property before severing a joint tenancy.

The severance of joint tenancy process can be quick if the joint tenants are mutually agreeing, a week or two depending on the backlog at the Land Registry. If the severance isn't mutually agreed then you need to factor in additional time.

Are you ready to sever your Joint Tenancy and register as Tenants in Common?

We provide this severance and registration at the land registry for £260 Inc VAT. You will need to upload your notice of severance. If you are unable to agree your beneficial interest split, we are able to assist in a property dispute.

This method should only be used if you are unable to agree your beneficial interest split with the other owners. If you are able to agree who gets what share you should always protect this with a deed of trust, or you risk a nasty and expensive dispute if the relationship breaks down in the future.


What is the advantage of severing a joint tenancy?

  • Tax Purposes

    Co-owners of a buy-to-let as joint tenants, look to sever the joint tenancy for tax purposes. Joint tenants share rental income equally, however tenants in common can share income in a much more tax efficient way utilising the lower tax bracket of one of the joint owners. They will also need a deed of trust to confirm the unequal share. And, if married (or civil partners) to file a Form 17 disclosure to HMRC.

  • Separation

    Joint tenants who separate either by court order or mutual agreement may need to sever the joint tenancy. Where this is mutually agreeable the process is simple, however where one party wants to separate and the other doesn't, the party wanting to sever needs to serve a notice of severance of joint tenancy. We provide a template below to help and explain what to do if not all joint tenants sign the severance of joint tenancy.

  • Protecting unequal shares

    Intentions can change over time you must update the Land Registry title to confirm it is held as tenants in common. You might have started intending to share the property equally, but if one party has been renovating the property and paying the whole mortgage, for example, you might have agreed for their share to increase. If this is the case, you'll also need a Deed of Trust to set out your new intentions. Our Floating Deed of Trust even includes a formula which will adjust your shares for you, based on your relative spend.

  • Inheritance

    When one joint tenant dies, their share automatically belongs to the other owner(s). If you would like your share of the property to pass to someone else, you must sever the joint tenancy and make sure you have a will

Severance of joint tenancy after death

The death of a joint owner also triggers a need to update the Land Registry's details regarding your property ownership however this isn't a SEV Form. Click to read - Deceased Joint Proprietor (DJP) - How to remove the joint owner from the Land Registry.


What is the process to sever the joint tenancy?


    1
    Agree the beneficial split
Before you sever the tenancy you needd o agree with the co-owners what the share of the beneficial interest is. Prior to severance it is 100% equal, post severance it'll be separate individual shares. If you are doing this for tax reasons then you'll be sharing the equity in the most tax efficient way, however if you have a disagreement with the joint owners then you may have a TOLATA dispute to deal with to prove who owns what.

    2

    Serve a notice of severance of joint tenancy

This is only required where the joint owners can't agree the beneficial split or a joint owner isn't able to sign the Form SEV. Notice to sever joint tenancy can be served in a number of different ways:
  • The original or certified copy of the notice of severance and a signed acknowledgement of receipt by the other registered proprietors is enclosed.
  • The original or certified copy of the notice of severance and my certificate is enclosed, confirming that the notice was given to the other registered proprietor(s), left at their last known place of abode or business in the UK or sent by registered post or recorded delivery service to them at their last known place of abode or business and not returned undelivered.
  • I am the applicant’s conveyancer and I certify that I hold the original [or certified copy of] notice of severance with an acknowledgement of receipt signed by the other registered proprietors.
  • I am the applicant’s conveyancer and I certify that I hold the original [or certified copy of] notice of severance, and that it was served on the other registered proprietors in accordance with sections 36(2) and 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925.

    3

    Complete severance of joint tenancy form

The severance of joint tenancy form is legally known as a Form SEV and can be downloaded from the Land Registry.


    4
    Submit to Land Registry
You send the form and supporting documents to HM Land Registry’s Citizen Centre. There is no Land Registry fee to pay if the application is made by mutual consent of the joint tenants.


Frequently Asked Questions

Temp
Tax
Dispute
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing
Written 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.
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed 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.

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