Thinking of buying your first Home with your friends or partner

Many first-time buyers contemplate of buying their first home in co-ownership with friends, partner or even total strangers, due to high house prices and a higher level of deposit requirements. It becomes easier for prospective first-time buyers to buy their first dream home when the initial deposit and subsequent mortgage is shared between the co-owners. However, it is very important that the parties to co-ownership must know the legal relationship they would like to have and the consequences of their choice.


Co-ownership occurs when two or more persons are simultaneously entitled to land and they hold a concurrent interest in the land. The tenancy can be either joint tenancy or tenancy in common.

Joint Tenancy

Joint tenants enjoy and share the land as a whole irrespective of their share in the purchase price or mortgage payment. The joint tenants own the whole land together. There is no “legally” divisible share under joint tenancy. Joint tenants cannot leave their potential share in the Will. In case of death of one joint tenant, the right of survivorship will apply and surviving joint tenant will inherit the property irrespective of the terms of the Will of the deceased or the intestacy rules.

However, a Joint tenant can avoid the right of survivorship by disposing of his/her “potential” personal share during his/her lifetime or by severing the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common during his/her lifetime.

Tenancy in Common

Under tenancy in common, each tenant owns a specific share of the property. The share can be equal or unequal, for example, one tenant may hold 70% and the other 30%, which may reflect unequal contributions to the purchase price. More importantly, the right of survivorship does not apply and each tenant can dispose of his share, leave it in Will or on intestacy.

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