Joint tenancy after splitting from partner

Posted on 2 February 2017 by Liz

I split from a partner with whom I owned a house several years ago. We own the house as joint tenants but as we were never married we did not deal with solicitors when we split up and the tenancy was never severed. Historically, I had always paid the full mortgage and when I left I continued to do so. He also lost his job very soon after and as the house was in a degree of disrepair, the intention was that he would make improvements. Unfortunately, over the years quite the opposite happened and the property is now in quite poor condition. My ex recently made passing reference to his 50% share of the equity which made me consider the financial implications of what I have been doing over the years. A quick calculation of what I've paid since leaving is around 25K of mortgage interest and repayments as well as other financial commitments associated with the property such as buildings and insurances. I've since been told that with a joint tenancy, it doesn't matter how much each partner has or has not contributed, the share of proceeds of sale would always remain half and half.

What you have been told is essentially true. My understanding is as joint tenants you are effectively in a 50/50 partnership and when the property is sold you will gain or shoulder the loss equally, regardless of each partners contribution. Had you purchased the property as Tenants in Common, which is usually the case for unmarried couples, you could have had a different split in ownership say 60/40.  However, this would have had to be decided at the time of purchase and most people still have a 50/50 split and the situation you find yourself in now would technically be no different.

I recommend you seek professional legal advice and speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.

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