The Land Registry has issued new guidance on joint property ownership.
The new guide will help members of the public understand the two different types of joint ownership and how to amend Land Registry records if they change the way in which they hold the property.
If consumers own property jointly, either as a married couple, partners or friends, they will have chosen one of two kinds of ownership. Whether they are the freeholders or the leaseholders the property will either be held as beneficial joint tenants or tenants in common.
The guide advises consumers to ask their conveyancers about their registration in order to find out where they stand.
Even if the document by which they acquired the property does not record the kind of ownership, this information may have been included in a Land Registry form when the consumers applied to be registered as joint owners of the property.
The Land Registry advises consumers to contact their conveyancers in the event that they want to sever a joint tenancy.
In order to sever a joint tenancy, an application must be made to the Land Registry on form SEV (or form RX1) to enter a Form A restriction on the register.
The form SEV must be signed by either: a conveyancer, one or more owners.
Along with this must be the original or a certified copy of the notice of severance given by one owner to the other(s) together with a conveyancer’s certificate or a statutory declaration by the applicant confirming that notice has been served on the other owner(s), or the original or a certified copy of the notice of severance signed by the owner(s) on whom it has been served.
The Form A restriction does not itself change the ownership from a beneficial joint tenancy to a tenancy in common. The restriction only reflects the change you have made.
Consumers are advised to keep the (new or amended) trust deed or Notice of Severance in their record of ownership.
They have provided guidance to consumers who are acting without the help of a conveyancer.
A similar process is in place if the owners want to change from a tenancy in common to a beneficial joint tenancy.
Consumers only need to involve Land Registry if there is already a Form A restriction on the register (which there should be).
To cancel the restriction, consumers must apply on form RX3, which must be signed by either: the owners or a conveyancer.
The completed form must be supported by either: a certified copy of the new (or amended) trust deed showing that everyone with a share or interest in the property agrees to the change, or a certified copy of the transfer showing that all the owners of shares transfer their shares to all the beneficial joint tenants, or a certificate given by a conveyancer that a deed in one of the forms referred to above has been entered into by all the parties.
The supporting evidence must confirm that: together all of you own all of the shares in the property and no one else owns any other share in the property, none of the owners has mortgaged any individual share, none of the owners is bankrupt, none of the owners has a creditor with a charging order against any share, and all owners now hold the property as beneficial joint tenants.
The Land Registry website provides more details regarding a range of other scenarios. http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/guides/public-guide-18
If consumers believe the register for their property wrongly contains or omits a Form A restriction, they should contact the Land Registry for guidance.