Help! I Don’t Like My Co-Owner

We previously posted an article outlining the differences between a joint tenant and tenants in common. By way of a brief re-cap, in NSW if you are a co-owner under a joint tenancy and your co-owner unfortunately passes away, despite what is written in your co-owner’s will, save for a number of other circumstances, your co-owner’s share in the property will automatically pass to you. Conversely, if you hold the property as tenants in common and your co-owner passes away, then the title to your co-owners share in the property will pass in accordance with his or her will.

So, if you happen to own a property as a joint tenant, and you no longer wish to do so (for any number of reasons), what can you do?

There are a number of ways in which a joint tenancy can be severed. The consequence of the severance of a joint tenancy is the formation of a tenancy in common. Actions which a joint tenant may take to sever the joint tenancy include (amongst others):

  • an agreement between each of the joint tenants that the joint tenancy be severed;
  • the bankruptcy of one of the joint tenants;
  • the instigation of proceedings in respect of family law against another joint tenant;
    one joint tenant selling its interest in the property.

There are some formalities that should be undertaken to ensure that an intention to sever the joint tenancy is completed. If you would like assistance or advice in respect of the severence of a joint tenancy please contact one of our property law experts here at ClickLaw Australia.

John Kettle
Solicitor Director
ClickLaw Australia