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How Can I Dissolve A Joint Property Ownership?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 1 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
How Can I Dissolve A Joint Property Ownership?

Q.

The question relates to the choice of court, and whether this is a small claim at all (or a county court matter) and the location of the relevant court.

I own a property jointly (50% share) with another party. Neither of us live in the property.

The other party has been damaging the property and has acted in ways that prevent its use by any party. The reasons for this are complicated and not relevant here.

I wish to separate my business activities from the other party. However the other party has refused to reply to correspondence proposing sale of the property. I have proposed that the property be placed on the open market, and that either of us could bid in competition if we wish. This too has received no reply over more than a year of repeated requests.

I wish to apply to the court to enforce a sale of the property. I do not wish to claim damages from the other party. Thus the value of the claim is in-effect zero, simply a request to enforce the making of a decision.
(Mrs B Blumsohn, 29 October 2008)

A.

There are two different forms of joint property ownership.

Both are described as tenancies even though the property is owned and not held under a tenancy in the popular sense of the word:

  • Joint Tenancy – The property is held in equal shares and neither owner can sell or otherwise dispose of their share in the property without the other owner’s permission. If one owner dies, their share in the property is automatically transferred to the other owner. If one of the joint tenants becomes bankrupt the legal form of ownership will be converted to a tenancy-in-common.
  • Tenancy-in-Common – The owners may have different proportions of the property and any one owner is free to sell or transfer their share in the property without needing the other owner or owners’ permission. If one of the tenants-in-common dies their share of the property passes to their estate and not to the other owners.
If joint owners purchased the property with a mortgage they will be “jointly and severally” liable for the mortgage debt. This means that, regardless of any separate arrangement they may have to pay the monthly instalments due under the mortgage, each owner is individually liable for the whole mortgage. In the case of a default, the mortgage company could pursue any or all owners for the debt. In practice the mortgage company would be likely to pursue all owners to maximise the chances of recovering the money owed.

If you are not sure how you hold the property you should start by look at any transfer or title documents you may have. The solicitor who carried out the conveyancing may also be able to advise you on the type of ownership.

How joint property ownership can be dissolved will depend on whether the owners hold the property as joint tenants or tenants-in-common. A tenant-in-common could simply sell their share in the property to a third party thereby effectively dissolving the existing joint ownership. A joint tenancy may be ended by one owner giving notice in writing - a notice of severance - to the other owner or owners that he wishes to end it. The Land Registry must be notified of the severance. The property will then be held as tenants-in-common with either owner free to dispose of their share as they wish.

An application could be made to a county court for an order for sale forcing the other owner to cooperate in the proposed sale and, ultimately, asking the court to give you possession of the property if he fails to cooperate. If a dispute arose as to how much of the property each tenant-in-common actually owned, an application could also be made asking the court to decide the size of the respective shares. The correct court would be the court where the property is located. The small claims procedure is not applicable to this kind of application and legal advice should be obtained before issuing a claim.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi, I bought a house recently with my brother as tenants in common, I have had a lot of disagreements with him and I decided I no longer want to own a property with him. I asked him I want to sell the house and for us to advertise it with an estate agent, he clearly refused to sell the house. I want to know if I can sell my 50% share of the property to anyone e.g investors etc. Or what else could I do as I no longer wish to own the house with him. I do know I can ask the court but for what reasons do court refuses to grant the court order sale?
Han - 1-Sep-17 @ 11:59 PM
Sscott - Your Question:
Hi bought a house, jointly, with my sister, and after a couple of years I moved out to live with a partner. I want to know how I go about getting my share out of the property- or do we have to sell the house?

Our Response:
Your best option is to try to negotiate how to resolve the issue directly with your sister. The most straightforward option would be if she was able to buy you out. If she cannot and if you wish to release any equity in the property you may have to ask her to sell. If she refuses, then financial arbitration or court would be your next option to consider.
AboutSmallClaims - 10-May-17 @ 1:48 PM
Hi bought a house, jointly, with my sister, and after a couple of years I moved out to live with a partner. I want to know how I go about getting my share out of the property- or do we have to sell the house?
Sscott - 6-May-17 @ 7:27 AM
I have given a house to my 3 children but now 1 wants to sell or sign it back over to myself ,how do I get it signed back over to me again.
Scamp - 12-Apr-17 @ 9:29 PM
@George - she'd have to take you to court if you refuse to sell and the court would decide. I can't see why she won't let you buy her out (unless you've made a low offer) as it'd make things much easier all round. But if you lose in court, you might be saddled with court costs.
Fee - 11-Apr-17 @ 12:36 PM
I own a buy to let property, which is currently tenanted, on a 50% tenancy in common basis with another party. The other party wants to sell and I do not. Is there any way she can force a sale. I have already made an offer to buy her out which she has refused.
George - 10-Apr-17 @ 1:35 PM
My farther signed his bungalow over to my sister and myself he no longer lives in the bungalow I now wish to sell the bungalow my sister wants to rent how can I resolve this
Chewie66 - 24-Feb-17 @ 7:58 PM
I took a mortgage with my wife and after one year immigration office deported her as visa expired, the mortgage is far too high for me and I have a young boy ( 4 months)so I won't be able to work even a full time jobhow can I sell the house? I want to move to a different part of the country where is cheaper. Thank you
Yellow tomatoes - 11-Feb-17 @ 6:50 AM
Kash - Your Question:
Hi I have a joint mortgage with my sister. When the mortgage was taken out, my salary was taken into account, and I paid the deposit. Mortgage was taken out in 2006 she has moved out 2002 dies not live here lives abroad has never contributed a single penny towards any expense on the property, now I sm struggling to ikeep up the mortgafe payments want to sell she is not signing what can I do. I want to sell the house and move on.

Our Response:
If your sister refuses to sign, your only recourse would be to take the matter to court in order to try to force the sale. However, as your sister lives abroad this will be tricky to enforce and costly. I can only suggest you seek some legal advice and/or talk to your mortgage lender about your problems as you may be entitled to a loan assessment to help make your payments more manageable.
AboutSmallClaims - 20-Jan-17 @ 3:09 PM
Hi i have a joint mortgage with my sister. When the mortgage was taken out, my salary was taken into account, and i paid the deposit. Mortgage was taken out in 2006 she has moved out 2002 dies not live here lives abroad has never contributed a single penny towards any expense on the property, now i sm struggling to ikeep up the mortgafe payments want to sell she is not signing what can i do. I want to sell the house and move on.
Kash - 20-Jan-17 @ 5:33 AM
Bounce - Your Question:
Hi we bought a apartment in north Cyprus about 7 years ago we have been divorced for over 5 years and the divorce papers said everything had to be sold forthwith my ex is refusing to accept offers that is about half what we paid as the market over there is very poor and with the trouble in turkey I want to sell at any price but any offer we get she tuns it down and also it costs us about a £1000 each per year for the upkeep she has never been out there for about 6 years thank wait for your reply

Our Response:
If your ex is breaching the terms of the court order, then you would have to take the matter back to court in order to have it enforced. If there was no time limit/price that your ex had to accept, then you would have to take the matter back to court to have the matter varied. However, sometimes a solicitor's letter stating your ex is in breach of the order may jolt her into action.
AboutSmallClaims - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hi we bought a apartment in north Cyprus about 7 years ago we have been divorced for over 5 years and the divorce papers said everything had to be sold forthwith my ex is refusing to accept offers that is about half what we paid as the market over there is very poor and with the trouble in turkey I want to sell at any price but any offer we get she tuns it down and also it costs us about a £1000 each per year for the upkeep she has never been out there for about 6 years thank wait for your reply
Bounce - 9-Jan-17 @ 10:00 AM
Hi I moved into my house 1987 it was a council house I met my ex 1997 and became pregnant I got offered the right to buy and was very fortunateto get 60% discount the property is leasehold 26.000 I paid outright for the house was in my name only we took joint loanfor an extension when my son was 3 he left me for another woman I trusted this man Inorder to get repayments of loan down his name went on the deeds I refused twice didn't understand scared would lose home so that was my son's maintenence money to pay of loan he is 18 now and lives with his dad in another town I haddisabled son he has moved out I'm 55 years old my house is to bigneed to sell my ex wont t comply I've paid the bills I live here the house need work I can't afford it help
Gingerjan - 19-Nov-16 @ 1:05 PM
Hi there, I have inherited a property shared with my two brothers. We have all agreed to sell the property, however whilst two of us are happy to reduce the price for a faster sale (under estate advice as overpriced currently) the third brother is refusing to reduce price or listen to the estate agents insisting on waiting for the market to rise to his price. What can i do? I am about to loose out on a house i have had an offer accepted on, i have sold my flat as combining the two properties would enable my purchase...help please
Adamb3572 - 1-May-16 @ 8:28 AM
Hi I brought a property with a friend 10 years ago, for the last 7 years I have had nothing to do with it as we had a falling out and the house has since been let out by the other party. He has since contacted me saying he wants to sell it which I am fine with. Will I still be in title to 50% of the profit even if I have had nothing to do with it for so long. ?
Frazer - 2-Apr-16 @ 9:43 AM
I have a joint tenancy property with my mum, who now lives in the house and has nothing to do with the property. She paysmortgage and I have contributed towards the mortgage and for management of the property. My family including two children living in rented house. I am keen to either get into the property the property or sell it. Is there a way of legitimately getting her name of the property especially since I am left her to deal with paying the mortgage and manage the property. Regards
Panicker - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:07 PM
Question, roughly how much would it cost to force a sale through the courts?
Dee - 21-Jan-16 @ 4:53 PM
I bougt my house 10 yrs ago .I paid the deposit and all expenses .i decided to include her name on the deeds .when the house was sold I decided to take my deposit of £10000 and the sharethe profit jointly including my previous deposit , for us to buy another property .Now we are separated and in the process of selling the house .Can i take back the money i gave her which was used as pert of her contribution?
sye - 7-Nov-15 @ 11:48 PM
Hi I have a question... I am named joint owner on a property that I shared with my now ex husband, and I wish for my name to be removed from the agreement. I've walked away from the property and happy to allow him to remain there I have moved out and he remains in the property. He pays the mortgage interest only as per the mortgage agreement. We stopped paying the repayments a few years ago. He has no insurance/pension or endowment policy to cover the mortgage at the end of the mortgage term (approx. 13 years remaining). He has bad debts as do I from when his company went pop. I have approached the mortgage provider who say that he needs to apply for a re-mortgage solely in his name.. This he cannot do due to the bad debts... Its further complicated by the fact that the property is lease hold with just 60 years remaining therefore mortgage providers wont consider any loans on the property. He cannot afford to extend the lease or purchase the freehold.. I feel I'm stuck with a noose around my neck.. any ideas please would be greatly appreciated.
Piglet - 17-Sep-15 @ 3:44 PM
larry - Your Question:
I have a Q. Divorced using arbitrator 5 yrs ago. Ex stayed at the property still jointly owned (we are both on the mortgage note). She covered the mortgage, Agreement was I cover utilities for 5yrs. Or till kids leave that property. Times up & kids are off on their own. I am now remarried and we want to buy our own place. With this fiscal boat anchor around my neck, I can't get a loan even with decent credit scores. How can I achieve dissolution of joint ownership on this property, get my name off that deed & loan, let her keep the place, with the existing loan she has been paying for last 5 years? Thanks! LB

Our Response:
Can you not discuss this directly with her in order to come to a transfer of equity solution? If not, I suggest you seek some legal advice and ask a solicitor to broach this with her on your behalf.
AboutSmallClaims - 7-Aug-15 @ 11:40 AM
I have a Q. Divorced using arbitrator 5 yrs ago.Ex stayed at the property still jointly owned (we are both on the mortgage note). She covered the mortgage, Agreement was I cover utilities for 5yrs. Or till kids leave that property. Times up & kids are off on their own. I am now remarried and we want to buy our own place.With this fiscal boat anchor around my neck, I can't get a loan even with decent credit scores.How can I achieve dissolution of joint ownership on this property, get my name off that deed & loan, let her keep the place, with the existing loan she has been paying for last 5 years?Thanks! LB
larry - 6-Aug-15 @ 7:10 PM
@Angie - you would need his consent to sell. If you own your house jointly in a ‘trust for sale’ you may be able to force the sale of the property. This is done by applying for a court order that would in effect allow for the property to be sold, and would provide a timescale within which it should be sold. You should make a note of the way in which your husband is being un-cooperative, and in as much detail as possible . This will be very useful for your solicitor in the event that you do need to apply for a court order.
AboutSmallClaims - 17-Jun-15 @ 10:39 AM
I have a joint tenancy ownership with my partner we have one daughter 13. There has been mental abuse to the point where if have had to leave the house on numerous occasions. He is refusing to leave so I have no option but to sell I am desperate my child is suffering. Can I force him to sell we need to move on x
Angie - 14-Jun-15 @ 9:44 AM
How do you actually sell your half share of a tenant in common and can this be done without agreement of the other tenant in common? What about mortgaging or remortgaging your half share?
Tom - 1-Oct-14 @ 12:18 PM
Hi, I have a mortgage with my x and she lives in the house with our 3 kids. I've now not lived in the house for 2 years and as a result am nearly £10000 in debt. When I first moved out it was agreed in front of her father she would only stay 6 months then we would sell. I now have to wait until my youngest is 18 (she is 6) is there anything I can do to free up cash for me. There is 100000 equity Thanks in advance
Davep - 1-Aug-14 @ 6:23 AM
I have a joint tenancy property with my ex-girlfriend, who now lives in the States and has nothing to do with the property. She pays no mortgage and has never paid for any management of the property. I am keen to either get her name of the property or sell it. Is there a way of legitimately getting her name of the property especially since I am left to deal with paying the mortgage and manage the property. The property is currently empty. Regards
Snow - 30-Apr-14 @ 5:39 PM
I have a question.I am the owner of a property that is rented out. The last tenants and unmarried couple left the property in a poor state and I made a claim through the Tenats deposit scheme against their deposit.The Tenants deposit scheem found in my favour for a sum of £1800 for damages. The deposit was £1100.The TDS arbitrator therfore awardede me the total deposit and suggested I pursue them for the difference a value of £700.I have learned that the couple no longer co habitate but I do have a forwarding address for one party who now lives in the same town in a rental property and for the 2nd party the adsress of a property that is owned by him and his wife, also in the same town and also his work address. I have no evidence yet that the 2nd party lives at the property he owns with is wife.The 2nd party has requested that I address him c/o his co tenants new rental addressI wish to pursue them both jopintly and severaly for the difference between the deposit and the arbitration award.Should I site them both as " co-defendants" as they were joint signatory to the assured Tenancy contract ?Or do you have other idea's perhapsThank you
Kevin - 29-Apr-13 @ 10:28 AM
What if you have a TIC with a partner who doesn't want to pay their share of the renovation costs? I don't want to terminate the TIC or sell the property, just revoke some of his share based on the current market value?
Mel - 13-Jun-12 @ 7:01 PM
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