Property Ownership Considerations for Cohabiting Couples
#Suggestions for cohabitating couples
Are you and your partner considering taking the leap into owning a property together? While this journey can be exciting, it’s essential to consider the legal aspects that come into play, especially when you’re not married. Here are some property ownership considerations for cohabiting couples:
- Shared Goals and Objectives
Consider long-term goals, not only relationship goals like getting engaged and married, but financial goals and what you each consider will happen with this property in the future. Ensure both partners’ long-term goals are aligning is key.
- Legal Ownership
Deciding on how the property will be legally held is a very important consideration. Where individuals purchase a property together, there are two ways in which this property can be held: as Joint Tenants, or Tenants in Common. As Joint Tenants, you and your co-owner do not own specific shares in the property, regardless of the financial contributions each of you have made towards the purchase price, you both own the whole of the property. If one of you dies, they cannot pass their interest to anyone else through their Will, the surviving owner automatically becomes solely entitled to the whole of the property. Alternatively, you can opt to own the property as Tenants in Common. This means that you and your co-owner each own a distinguishable share of the property. These shares can be equal, i.e. 50% / 50% or can be unequal, i.e. 75% / 25%, to take into account the difference in the financial contributions made when buying the property. This distinction is important has it will have a significant impact on the way the property will be dealt with on sale or death.
- Financial Contributions
Discuss how to handle the financial aspects, including the initial deposit, mortgage payments, ongoing expenses, and how renovation and repair works will be paid for. Be clear about each partner’s financial responsibilities and contributions.
- Legal Considerations
Unmarried cohabiting couples do not enjoy the same legal protections as married couples. It’s advisable to explore legal safeguards, such as cohabitation agreements, which can clarify your legal rights and responsibilities in the property. Seek legal advice or guidance from our solicitor specialist family law team.
- Exit Strategies
While it’s not a pleasant topic, it’s crucial to address what happens if the relationship ends or if one partner passes away. Having an exit strategy in place can save you from legal complications down the road.