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Severance of joint tenancy

Property can be held jointly in two different ways.  It is important to know how each property you own is held and whether restrictions, cautions or spousal rights have been registered against the property.

Joint tenants

Most married couples own property as joint tenants.  Upon the death of one party, the surviving owner owns the whole property outright.

Tenants in common

The alternative is to own the property in joint names as tenants in common. Here, each registered owner owns a ‘share’ of the property that does not automatically pass to the survivor. In the absence of a formal document stating the relative percentage shares, the court will assume a 50% share for each. It is important for co-habitants, who have unequally contributed to the purchase of a property, or parents, who have loaned their child a lump sum to purchase a property with a third party, to find out whether the property is owned as joint tenants or tenants in common.

We can make enquiries with the Land Registry and obtain an official Office Copy Entry (and plan) of your property to confirm how your property is held. We are also able to prepare the document required to change from joint tenants to tenants in common.

Contact our wills team

Phone us: +44 (0) 20 7759 5531

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


25 Richefond Circle
Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

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