Blog > Can you take out equity release on a jointly owned property?

Can you take out equity release on a jointly owned property?

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By Richard Groom • 14th May 2024 • 5 min read

Your guide to joint ownership equity release

If you have a jointly owned property, equity release could help you to raise some tax-free cash without the need to make monthly payments.

Equity release is typically possible on both ‘joint tenancy’ and ‘tenants in common’ properties – but with some differences across the two ownership types.

In this article we’ll explain how equity release on joint ownership works, and some things to bear in mind when making a joint application.

We’ll cover:

  • What is equity release?
  • What are the different types of joint ownership?
  • Can I arrange equity release on a jointly owned property?
  • Can I do equity release if more than two people own the property?
  • Can I do equity release on a joint ownership leasehold property?
  • Equity release and shared ownership properties

What is equity release?

Thinking about arranging equity release on a jointly owned property? If so, the first step is to be clear on how equity release works.

With equity release, people over the age of 55 can unlock tax-free cash from their homes without having to sell or move house. The most common type of equity release is a lifetime mortgage. It’s a form of secured loan with typically no monthly repayments to make. That’s because the interest can be rolled-up and added to the total loan each month. 

The loan and accrued interest are typically paid back through the sale of the property when you pass away or move into long-term care. If you don’t want your loan to grow over time, then you can choose to make voluntary regular interest payments.

The money you unlock can be used for just about any lawful reason, once any outstanding mortgage or secured loans are settled. 

Find out if you could be eligible for a plan by calling our friendly team on 0808 178 3055 or request a free callback today. You can also use our free equity release calculator to get an instant view of how much you might be able to release.

What are the different types of joint ownership?

Joint ownership is very common and simply means having a second name on your title deeds, usually your spouse or partner. There are two main types of joint ownership, summarised in the table below:

Main differences between ownership types

Key definitionSuitable for?Can you leave your share in your will?
Joint tenantsYou each have equal rights to the whole property.Available for up to four people, though typically couples, wishing to purchase a property together. Must be comfortable owning the property equally regardless of how much money each person puts into buying it.You can’t pass on your ownership of the property in your will. Instead, when one of you passes away, your home automatically goes to the surviving owner/s. This is known as the ‘right of survivorship’ rule.
Tenants in commonYou can own separate shares of your property, which can differ in size.Enables up to four people to purchase a property together. Can prevent issues if you make unequal financial contributions when purchasing it and are not comfortable with a 50- 50 share in the property; or you want to leave your share to someone in your will.When you pass away, you can leave your share of the property in your will to whoever you wish. The property does not automatically transfer to the other owners.

Please note: the above information is a guide only – please visit HM Land Registry for more information on the different types of joint ownership if you are unsure which type you have or are considering.

Can I arrange equity release on a jointly owned property?

Yes, you can typically do equity release on a jointly owned property, providing the youngest applicant is 55 or over. 

If two people are on the title deeds for your property, say yourself and your spouse, then you will have to apply jointly for equity release. One homeowner of a jointly owned property cannot choose to arrange a single equity release plan in just their name. 

If you jointly own a home and one of you is under 55, you would need to remove the youngest person from the title deeds, with their consent. You would then make a single application as sole owner. This is something to consider carefully, with the support of a solicitor, as there are implications beyond the equity release application for changing from joint to sole ownership.

Equity release for ‘tenants in common’ properties

Joint ownership equity release is possible on both ‘joint tenants’ and ‘tenants in common’ properties but there are some things to be aware of when it comes to ‘tenants in common’. 

First, because the share of one owner in ‘tenants in common’ arrangements is left according to their will, it is much simpler when there’s an equity release plan if their share is left to the surviving owner.

If the deceased leaves their share to someone other than the surviving partner, the equity release lender may place certain restrictions on the plan. They may for example limit or disable access to any facility to borrow more money via a drawdown facility.

Also, be aware that if the deceased has not left a will, their share of the property would go to their next of kin. If this is not the surviving owner, they may be unable to live in the property and this could have implications on the equity release plan.

It is therefore important to discuss these matters with your equity release adviser if you own a property on a ‘tenants in common’ basis. If you then decide that you wish to change from tenants in common to joint tenants, this needs to be done by a solicitor on your behalf.

Please see our guide for more information: Equity release for tenants in common

What if we live together but I own the house alone? 

If you own your house alone and want to add your spouse or partner onto your deeds, this can often be done during your application for equity release. The benefit of doing this is that both of you will have the right to stay in your home until you pass away or move into long-term care. 

Can I use equity release to buy out my partner?

You may also be able to use equity release to buy out your partner and remove their name from the deeds. If this is something you want to look into, please see our guide: Equity release and divorce. Our selected equity release advisers will also be able to explain the process to you. 

Can I do equity release if more than two people own the property?

An equity release plan can only be arranged on a property that is owned in single or joint names. If more than two people own your property, you will typically have to remove the extra name/s from the title deeds with their agreement. Until this happens, you won’t be able to arrange an equity release plan on your property. 

 

Did you know? If you need to remove someone from the deeds of your home, then this process can be managed during the equity release application process by your chosen equity release solicitor.

Can I do equity release on a joint ownership leasehold property?

Equity release may be possible on a jointly owned leasehold property, but there are some restrictions to be aware of. The main issue is that the lender will need the length of time remaining on the lease to meet their minimum criteria. This differs from lender to lender, for example it may be set at 75 years or higher.

Our guides to Equity release on leasehold flats and Equity release on leasehold houses provide more information about which leasehold properties might qualify for equity release.

Equity release and shared ownership properties

It’s important not to confuse ‘joint ownership’ properties discussed in this article with ‘shared ownership’.

Shared ownership properties are ones where you purchase a percentage of a property with a view to buying a bigger amount, or all of it, over time. Shared ownership schemes are often designed to help people get on the property ladder.

Equity release on a shared ownership property may be possible, however you would typically need to be able to release enough to purchase the remaining share from your landlord or provider. This is because you must own 100% of your home in order to have an equity release plan in place.

Please see our guide for more information: Releasing equity from your shared ownership home

How Equity Release Wise can help

To find out more about equity release, why not speak to our friendly team today? We can put you in touch with our selected advisers who can answer all your questions, explain the pros and cons of a plan, and confirm if you’re eligible and how much you could unlock.

Call us today on 0808 178 3055 or request a free callback to get the help you need – of use our equity release calculator for an estimate of how much you can release.

 

Sources:

Types of joint ownership: Joint property ownership. Gov.uk. Accessed  2 May 2024.

About Richard Groom. A writer with 20+ years’ experience across several sectors including financial services, Richard has a passion for writing clear and simple content on even the most complex of subjects. In his spare time, Richard loves exploring the hills and mountains of the UK on long walks with his faithful cocker spaniel. Follow Richard on LinkedIn

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