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How Can I Dissolve A Joint Property Ownership?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 29 Jun 2019 | 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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Hi, need some advice regarding the following situation. I bought a house with my partner but we have since broken up. There is no equity in the property, in fact there would be negative equity if we were to sell. He claims he has a decision in principle to take on the remaining mortgage amount in his own right. I have agreed to this and contacted him via a solicitor to move forward with this. He is refusing to respond or take my name off the mortgage. What can I do? I am currently living back at home as the situation is volatile and involved violence. The mortgage goes through his bank account and I have been advised not to send him my half this month. Is there a way to force him to either agree to remove me from the mortgage or to force a sale? Thank you.
Snaps1 - 29-Jun-19 @ 12:07 AM
My mother and her husband purchased a house as tenants in common. My mother died and I am executor of her 50%. Her husband lived in the house until he passed away last November. Yesterdaythe property was sold, keys handed over and the funds transferred to the other party; how has this legally been sold without my permission?
Jules - 27-Jun-19 @ 4:51 AM
I have a joint tenancy with my partner. We have a 13 year old son. I want to seperate but he will not leave or sell. Will I be able to get another mortgage when I leave? Can I force a sale. He has paid the mortgage throughout (<£400/month) and I have paid the bills food clothes and everything else (>1000/month) where to I stand it seems so unfair thanks for any advice
Sam - 18-Jun-19 @ 6:11 AM
Looking for some advice and any help would be much appreciated. My father passed away last year. (He lived in Norway) He owned a Sumer house with a friend. He didn't leave a Will but we know his share of the house was to be passed onto a man who sued him years ago. Today we recieved a picture of a notice of dissolution for force of property sale on facebook messenger from the friend wo owns the house. My dad was in a lot of debt surely the bank own the house and we have no say anyway. We have no idea what to do. Also we haven't signed anything nor do we want anything to do with any inheritance. Many thanks in advance.
Dan - 26-Apr-19 @ 7:32 PM
hi my partner bought a piece of land with his ex wife (then wife ) both names being on the land registry his first . she then left him declared herself bankrupt and changed her name and moved to southern ireland . name on land registry not changed. my partner now wants to sell the land can he legally do so without her agreeing
sammysausage - 6-Mar-19 @ 1:07 PM
I own a house outright (mortgage free) with my sister as Tenants in Common. However, I don’t live there. I went back to visit recently to find she had stood guarantor for a work colleagues £10,000 Amigo Loans debt. Although I’ve never contemplated this I now find myself worrying about us losing the house if my sister continues to involve herself in debt like this. Sadly, she has cancer (diagnosed long before the Amigo Loans came along). Should the time come that I own the house outright can her creditors force me to sell if she has let things get to the stage of CCJs?
appletree - 5-Dec-18 @ 9:13 AM
Nia - Your Question:
Hi thereI have a situation here. me and my husband bought our first house in 2013,where I paid most of the deposit. he paid half mortgage for a short period ,then stopped. I paid the mortgage and council tax for the rest of the period. we sold that house after an year and we put the money to another house as joint mortgage. we had some extra money after deposit for the second house which upon his request we halved it. he paid only 7000 pounds as a lump sum into the mortgage since we bought the second house. I have been paying the mortgage and council tax for the last 4 years. I cannot afford it any longer. I asked him to contribute at least 10-25 % of mortgage payment. he refused. I have asked him just to pay the council tax which also he refused.I have asked him about buying him out.he refused. as a last resort I asked about selling the house. He refused that too.he does not pay any maintenance money to the house or help out with any expense. He has access to my daughters child benefit too. I am not planning to divorce or separation from him. but would like to buy a mortgage on my own name where if he wants to stay, he can stay.I am stuck at this point. can anyone advice me what should I do and if I go through court , how much it will cost me

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if your husband refuses to sell or allow you to buy him out and you are in a stalemate position, your only option would be to refer the matter to court for a judge to decide.
AboutSmallClaims - 16-Aug-18 @ 1:46 PM
Hi there I have a situation here. me and my husband bought our first house in 2013,where I paid most of the deposit . he paid half mortgage for a short period ,then stopped. I paid the mortgage and council tax for the rest of the period. we sold that house after an year and we put the money to another house as joint mortgage. we had some extra money after deposit for the second house which upon his request we halved it . he paid only 7000 pounds as a lump sum into the mortgage since we bought the second house. I have been paying the mortgage and council tax for the last 4 years. I cannot afford it any longer. I asked him to contribute at least 10-25 % of mortgage payment. he refused. I have asked him just to pay the council tax which also he refused .I have asked him about buying him out .he refused. as a last resort I asked about selling the house. He refused that too. he does not pay any maintenance money to the house or help out with any expense . He has access to my daughters child benefit too . I am not planning to divorce or separation from him. but would like to buy a mortgage on my own name where if he wants to stay, he can stay. I am stuck at this point . can anyone advice me what should I do and if I go through court , how much it will cost me
Nia - 16-Aug-18 @ 5:13 AM
I feel played, and have a situation I never see coming. Boyfriend and girlfriend buy a home together shared 5050 joint tenants. However she has invested 15k and I have racked up nearly double what she has committed. 28:29k. We mutually break up, however neither can afford / want to keep it alone for financial and emotional commitment. I cannot agree with selling 50/50 outside court, because he’s seen the house has made a big profit. Brought in October 2017 265 Renovated for 6 months 30k spent House valued now July 201& 305k 40k profit would be fine if it was on equal investment. Minus a 13k loan Leaves 27k 13.250 each ... Now she is pushing a sale, which could make me lose 17k crippling my life savings , and she’s break even? This break up is not money related, so what do I do? What options can i offer , and what can she do to make this painful financially now for me.
EricPowellHome - 19-Jul-18 @ 4:02 PM
Hi Help me please... I paid £20000 as deposit to help purchasing a house with my husband . He had and still have a businessso the house is registered in his name only . He paid me back the £20000.I have a more than £10000 debtto a third party . Can the third party force a sale on the house ( on the base of my £50%% beneficial right to the property) and get his money back ? I don't have any business or job. Please help me . I don't want my 5 children to loose their home which their dad eorked hard all these years to keep ..
Saf - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:14 PM
Werbus12 - Your Question:
Hi my business partner (who lives abroad only comes uk for 6 months) and I bought a house with joint mortgage. I only lived there for 2 years and moved out to my boyfriend house. Mortgage paid by directly from business partner's personal bank account. After 8 years , now I want to sell my share but my business partner won't let me. What is my option or rights? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Our Response:
Where you cannot agree, you should seek legal advice about taking the matter to court. Only a court can order the sale, where one party refuses to agree. Even then, there is no guarantee the sale will be forced. Much depends upon how much equity you have in the house and your financial contribution.
AboutSmallClaims - 29-Sep-17 @ 2:33 PM
Hi my business partner (who lives abroad only comes uk for 6 months) and I bought a house with joint mortgage. I only lived there for 2 years and moved out to my boyfriend house. Mortgage paid by directly from business partner's personal bank account. After 8 years , now I want to sell my share but my business partner won't let me. What is my option or rights? Any help will be greatly appreciated . Thanks
Werbus12 - 28-Sep-17 @ 11:03 PM
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
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