Your residence can be legally owned by a single individual, or jointly by up to four individuals. There are important legal differences between these different possibilities.
Ownership by one individual is legally uncomplicated. Ownership by more than one individual can be a joint tenancy or a tenancy in common. Briefly, the differences between these are as follows:
Ownership under joint tenancy is favoured by married couples and people in civil partnerships. If one of the joint tenants dies the property immediately passes to the other owner. This means, amongst other things, that an individual owner cannot pass what they consider ‘their share’ of the property to a beneficiary in their will.
A tenancy in common is a popular choice for individuals buying together. The tenants do not have to own the property in equal shares – the ‘slices’ of individual stakes could, for example, reflect the different financial contributions that each is making to the purchase price (or, if applicable, mortgage payments). Here a will is recommended to provide for the destination of a share on death.