Q&As

Where unregistered land is owned by tenants in common and following their deaths, their beneficial interest is transferred by assent to two new tenants in common one of whom dies, who can transfer the legal ownership to the surviving owner?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 12/04/2018

The following Property Q&A Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where unregistered land is owned by tenants in common and following their deaths, their beneficial interest is transferred by assent to two new tenants in common one of whom dies, who can transfer the legal ownership to the surviving owner?

In this Q&A it is not clear who the legal owners of the unregistered land are—since the implementation of the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925) on 1 January 1926, it has not been possible for joint owners to hold the legal title to land other than as joint tenants (LPA 1925, s 1(6)). The beneficial interest can be held either as joint tenants in equity or as tenants in common, as appears to be the case here.

In the event that the equitable tenants in common were also the legal owners of the unregistered land, upon the death of the first the legal ownership will have vested in the second by virtue of the doctrine of survivorship. Following the death of the survivor, the legal ownership of the property will pass to their personal representatives.

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