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tenants in common

The latest episode of our FAQ series sees our expert solicitors asked what rights tenants in common have when it comes to forcing the other to sell.

Q: Six years ago, my friend and I invested in a property as "tenants in common". When we bought the house, we both agreed that we would hold on the property for at least five years, and then look at selling it. 

In the intervening years, I have got married, while my friend has left the UK and is working abroad. I’m now looking for the exit strategy that we discussed, but he wants to continue owning the property.

What are our rights? Can tenants in common force a sale? Or is there a way I can make him sell his share to me so that my spouse and I can own it and live in it as our family home?

A: Tenants in common each own a separate and distinct share in the property they’ve invested in.

Hopefully you entered into a declaration of trust at the outset, confirming the terms of your agreement. If you did, then that should contain provisions regarding the disposal of the property, so remind your friend of its terms. With this in mind, you should be able to try and reach an agreement.

However, if there was no declaration of trust, you could offer to buy out your friend for a fair price.

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Forcing the Sale of a Property

If you can't agree, you could tell your friend that you intend to apply to court for an order for sale. This option will be costly and will be likely to reduce the property's sale proceeds. It may also prove to be a bone of contention between the two of you.

Ensure that the court awards you conduct of the sale – then you will at least have some control over events.

If your co-owner is particularly obstructive and refuses to sign anything, you could end up having to make an application for the court to sign the "contract for sale and transfer" – which is all costly. It is always much better if you can reach agreement and highlights the importance of confirming agreements legally at the start of a process.

Read more: Applying to Court for an Order for Sale

Speak to Howells About Investment Advice Today

At Howells Solicitors, we’ve been helping investors and businesses maintain security with cast-iron legal advice in South Wales for over 20 years. If you’ve a question about property investment, or want to know more about buying a property as tenants in common, talk to us today.

Call us on 02920 404034  or email


by Tristan Lewis

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