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Severance of joint tenancy

24/04/2020

Get help the severance of joint tenancy

Our experienced conveyancing solicitors can help whether the joint tenants agree to sever the joint tenancy at the Land Registry or whether you need to serve a notice of severance of joint tenancy. Our fixed fee quotes are truly fixed with no hidden extras and we're rated Excellent on Trustpilot. Get a quote today and see for yourself.



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A severance of joint tenancy takes place after joint owners of a property who own the property as joint tenants want to sever the beneficial joint tenancy so they own the property as tenants in common. The reason for the severance of tenancy could be for several reasons which we cover below however it normally means that your intentions have changed from when you first bought the property. Any joint tenant can sever the joint tenancy, however you don't want to do this without first agreeing the beneficial split - getting this wrong can leave you with a long and costly legal battle trying to prove what your beneficial interest is so get in contact and see how we can help - 0333 344 3234.

Once a joint tenancy is severed, the title will be held as tenants in common and a Form A restriction is applied to the title to confirm this. The process can be quick if the joint tenants are mutually agreeing, a week or two depending on the backlog at the Land Registry, however if the severance isn't mutually agreed then you need to factor in additional time on top.

Severance of joint tenancy - Why do it?

  • Tax Purposes - couples that own a buy to let as joint tenants, normally originally their home before moving into their new home and keeping their original property as an investment, 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 brackets of the joint owners. They will also need a deed of trust to confirm the unequal share and if married to file a Form 17 disclosure to HMRC. Read through our FAQs to see the process for severing and sharing property income in a tax efficient way.
  • 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.
  • Change of Original Intentions - intentions can change over time. What was agreed 20 years ago may not be what is intended now. Whilst you may think that you can sever a joint tenancy by conduct this is not the case. If your intentions have changed then the joint tenants should update the Land Registry title to confirm it is held as tenants in common.

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 an SEV Form. Click to read - Deceased Joint Proprietor (DJP) - How to remove the joint owner from the Land Registry.

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What is the process to sever the joint tenancy?

    1
    Agree with the joint owners your beneficial split post severance. A part of the process often missed. With mutually agreeing joint tenants this is simple, you want to sever the joint tenancy for a reason so agreeing the beneficial interest split is straight forward. Where it is not mutually agreed you need to discuss with your joint tenant to agree a beneficial interest split. The property as it stands is owned equally, however one party may feel they have contributed more toward the property. Our solicitor can help with this if you need so please call us.
    2
    (if not all joint tenants are signing SEV) serve a notice of severance of joint tenancy. Notice of severance 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 Form SEV
    4
    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.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 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.


Can I download a notice of severance of joint tenancy template?

When severing joint tenancy without consent you'll need to serve a notice on the joint tenant/s.

Can I download a notice of severance of joint tenancy template?


What evidence is needed when there is no consent

Where there isn't mutual consent or not all joint tenants have signed the Form SEV then additional evidence is required.

Option B - Application is not by all the registered proprietors – severance is by document signed by all the registered proprietors - This option allows one of the joint tenants to make the application as long as they can evidence they have from the other joint tenant either:

  • The original or a certified copy of the document is enclosed (letter of severance); or
  • the conveyancer certifies they hold the original or a certified copy of the severance document

Option C - Application is not by all the registered proprietors – notice of severance has been served - This option allows one of the joint tenants to make the application when the other joint tenant hasn't signed the severance document but has been served with it. The evidence required depends on how the severance document was served and the options are:

  • 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.

Severance for tax purposes - What is the process for married couples?

    1
    Complete Form SEV
    2
    Complete a Deed of Trust
    3
    File a Form 17
    4
    Next rental payment received is shared in new beneficial interest split (it cannot be backdated)

We can handle the process from start to finish for you so please get in contact to speak to one of our specialists.
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