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changing from joint tenants to tenants in common-more help please

(24 Posts)
cluttered Thu 15-Jan-15 17:43:02


I posted about severing our joint tenancy with the agreement of STBXP last December and received some helpful advice about completing the SEV form from LandRegRep1862. Unfortunately STBXP seems to be dragging his feet on signing the form and says he needs time to think and take legal advice although I have told him that it can and will happen from my end alone. I think it definitely needs to happen as he has large debts and is hopeless financially and I am concerned that the DC could potentially end up homeless if something should happen to me. Surely it's obvious that we should sever the tenancy if he is moving out to pursue a new life with OW?

I have contacted some local conveyancing solicitors but all seem unwilling to take it on, maybe because it's not a big job? I have a copy of the Land Registry Title Deed so don't need the title number looking up, as far as I know I just need someone to get proof that he has had notice served that this is going to happen? Is this something that needs to be done locally or even by physical appointment at all, are there online firms that could do the necessary for me? I would be very grateful for any advice here or by PM if any legal people could help by suggesting anyone who could do this? My will has been changed to leave life insurance etc in trust to the DC so I need to complete the job by severing the tenancy.

Thanks in advance for any advice

Fleurchamp Fri 16-Jan-15 18:49:52

You are correct, it's a unilateral notice, there's nothing he can do.
Look on the Land Registry website. They will accept a certified copy of the notice of severance plus a letter from you confirming that you have given it to your ex/ sent it by registered post to his last known address. You will also need to complete form RX1.

cluttered Fri 16-Jan-15 22:29:31

Thanks so much for your reply Fleurchamp but how do I get a certified notice of severance, is it from a conveyancing solicitor? XP still lives here actually, he is dragging his heels over moving out so it won't be hard to give it to him!

Luckily we do have a big enough house but it is all a bit horrid because I don't want to tell the DC until he has somewhere else to live so we can answer all their questions. But it means I can't mention it to lots of friends whose DC are friends with my DC in case they overhear their parents talking and I can't mention it to my family either as they may give the game away. It is rapidly becoming less amicable as he blocks everything, he wants to move on but won't do anything about it leaving me in limbo.

Ideally I would like to do it without solicitors to save money and because all the local solicitors say they can't take anything new on for several weeks, can you recommend any online conveyancers? I have the title number all ready to go and really want to do this asap

mumblechum1 Sat 17-Jan-15 12:56:49

Any high street solicitor can sign a certified copy. Just pop in with the original document and a photocopy and they stamp and sign the copy and hand it back. They'll charge you a fiver or so.

You don't need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor to deal with the severance. Just send the Notice and the SEV form to the Land Registry, together with your letter confirming service.

cluttered Sat 17-Jan-15 16:41:30

Thanks mumblechum I have found a notice of severance of joint tenancy on a website called law on the web. If I fill that in and give it to XP,there is a section which says he has received it. If he signs to say he's received it then do I photocopy it and take it to a solicitor and they will stamp and sign one copy (which?) and do I send one or both back with the SEV form? And would I still have to have a letter? Or do I prepare 2 originals and leave one with him?

What happens if he refuses to sign to say he has received it, do I leave him one original and take the other to be certified with a photocopy and find some draft letter I can download and sign to say I have delivered it to him?

Sorry I'm not very good at all this legal stuff!

Fleurchamp Sat 17-Jan-15 22:35:33

Yes, by handing it to him you have technically severed the tenancy.

As mumblechum said any solicitor will certify a copy for you for about £5.

cluttered Sat 17-Jan-15 23:42:41

Thanks Fleur, I have handed the completed copy to him and the form I downloaded has a receipt section at the bottom to say he received it. However he refuses to sign this part as he thinks I am trying to trick him out of his "rights".

Looking at the SEV form there are basically 3 ways to do it i.e. we both fill in the SEV form, I fill in the SEV form and he signs a receipt to say he received the notice of severance or I serve it on him and get a solicitor to certify a copy and send with a letter so I guess we are going with the third option.

Where do I find a draft of this letter I need to send as I keep finding references to "without prejudice" letters but I can't find a draft except on websites offering you a pack of documents for £10. Is there a free example anywhere? Also, do I need to get a solicitor to certify my letter saying I've served it as the SEV form talks about including a certificate saying it's been served , is this just my letter or does it need to be authorised in any way?

Finally is there an official notice of severance form or will the one I downloaded from the legal website be OK?

Will the land registry only contact me if the information I send isn't sufficient for a restriction to be entered on the title document or will I hear either way or is the only way of knowing to pay the money to look at the title document again?

Thanks everyone for the help, I really appreciate it, I realise it must seem so obvious to anyone with a legal background!

Fleurchamp Sun 18-Jan-15 08:32:47

The Land Registry say certificate but in my experience a letter will do. The Land Registry is really helpful, I am sure they will have a helpline number somewhere. Is there still a contact on here? Perhaps PM them for clarification.
I would imagine that you send a letter asking them to accept your letter as a certificate that you served the SEV on your ex at (address) on (date).
One more thing you may need to check with the Land Registry is whether they need evidence of your ID.
Again, sorry for being vague but solicitors have a slightly different way of dealing with the Land Registry than the general public.

Fleurchamp Sun 18-Jan-15 08:39:02

Also there isn't a fee for severing the tenancy.

I'm not sure if I can do links but try here:

FlowerFairy2014 Sun 18-Jan-15 12:59:27

You don't want to mark anything without prejudice at all (as that means it is off the record and does not count).

You can sever without his consent. My father severed. He just had his solicitor write formally to our mother (they were still together but he thought she might leave his half of the estate after he left to the cat's home or something rather than the children). You don't need him to sign the bit at the bottom. that is just in an ideal world.

Fleur's advice looks good.

Also why is he saying he needs more time? It takes about 15 minutes to do a websearch to see what the impact of severing a joint tenancy is.

cluttered Sun 18-Jan-15 13:39:52

Thanks Fleur and Flowerfairy yes I don't know why he is saying he needs more time, he says he doesn't trust me but I don't know why he can't look online. I have printed all the info off the Land Registry site and other legal sites explaining it all and if he thinks I have fabricated this he could always check himself. I can understand he doesn't want to fill in the SEV form himself but he won't even sign to say he has received it FGS which is only what he would do for any signed for letter. So much for amicable!

Thanks for the suggestion about calling them, I will do that. Maybe the certified copy from the solicitor will act as proof of ID if they require me to show ID before they sign and stamp it?

Does either of you know how I know whether all the paperwork is in order i.e. do they write to you to say they have added the restriction?

FlowerFairy2014 Sun 18-Jan-15 16:49:59

I am not sure if they write to you. I recently paid £17 for a Land Registry search on my house on-line so it might be a good idea to give them a month to get the entries changed (if that is what the Land Registry do when you sever a joint tenancy to make it tenants in common) and see if they have made the change. Also I think you can now indicate what the percentages each have these days as some couples draw up a trust which says X has 10% share and Y 90% although I expect most couples agree 50% each. hat did not used to be possible to be shown at the Land Registry but now the split can be.

cluttered Sun 18-Jan-15 17:00:08

Thanks Flower we will leave at 50% each as that is the default . We still have 7 years left on mortgage and a minority of it is interest only so when the time is up we will see what happens with repaying that capital as I doubt XP will have any money, he is £25K in debt at the moment and this has accumulated in just 3 years since I stopped managing the money for both of us, he has always been hopeless with money so all the bills have been in my name and even the mortgage is paid from my account so we have a perfect payment history with that. He is defaulting on everything so unless things change I doubt he would be able to get a loan. I will have the money to pay off the entire sum at that point so I am hoping that he will be more reasonable by then and we could change the percentages then to reflect my extra contribution.

I have found a helpline number as suggested by Fleur so will give them a call tomorrow and see what they say about checking if the restriction has been made.

mumblechum1 Sun 18-Jan-15 23:23:50

They will send you a new office copy within a few working days. The restriction is something like "no disposition of a sole proprietor without an order of the court" or words to that effect.

LandRegRep1862 Mon 19-Jan-15 13:53:48

cluttered - you may have already got in touch although but Fleurchamp has linked you to our online guidance on this anyway.

Firstly, a certified copy for our purposes is simply a copy of the original which someone has certified that it is a true copy of that original and then signed it and added their full name and address - it does not have to be a solicitor and can in fact be You.

If you are not using a solicitor/conveyancer then we would need either
(i) the original or a certified copy of the notice to sever the joint tenancy bearing a signed acknowledgement of receipt by the other owner (which you mention); or

(ii) the original or a certified copy of the notice of severance together with a certificate confirming that the notice was given to the other owner, left at their last known place of abode or business in the UK or sent by registered post or recorded delivery service to them at their last known place of abode or business and not returned undelivered

When we talk about a certified copy or certificate this essentially means that you state 'I certify......' and sign/date it with full name and address.

Here's a link to a website that purports to enable you to create a Notice online for free. However I have not checked it's validity so do have a read first before deciding to proceed.

Finally, I appreciate that severing the joint tenancy is seen by many as solving a number of issues and/or preventing certain things from happening if a joint owner ends up in debt for example. This may be true in some cases but I would always recommend seeking legal/financial advice to understand the impact (if any) in a given circumstance.

From a property ownership perspective it is primarily used to safeguard a joint owner's 'share' in the property as and when they die.

Hope that helps

cluttered Mon 19-Jan-15 14:23:18

Hi LandReg thanks for your detailed reply. I called the advice line and they said to send in the SEV form with the notice of severance and a covering letter so I hope that my letter will be OK as I didn't use the phrase "I certify" but just said that I had served the notice as enclosed on the other proprietor at the address we both live at and was enclosing an original copy together with the completed SEV form. I had my address and the date at the top of the form and signed above my printed name at the bottom so not sure if that will be OK as there wasn't a date next to the signature only (a printed date) at the top.

Yes I understand about seeking legal advice but the fact is that we are separating due to him being in another relationship and I am concerned about my DC if something should happen to me. I have left everything to my DC in my will and left my life insurance in trust to them with trustees appointed but that won't be much good if they don't have anywhere to live as I wouldn't have any faith that XP would make the mortgage payments. I have always made all the payments on all bills due to his incompetence and since I stopped managing his current account 3 years ago he has amassed £25K worth of debt. At least if the DC had half the house the trustees could use the life insurance to pay off the mortgage but I wouldn't want that done if they didn't have any share in the house. When I made a will 3 years ago my solicitor advised me then to change the tenancy so I guess I have had legal advice!

FlowerFairy2014 Mon 19-Jan-15 17:13:40

If you do divorce by the way you should get a final agreed consent order which both of you agree which says who keeps what. For divorce in England it does not matter whose name things are in although it is likely you might think about starting with 50% each. Trouble is they add up all assets in both your names and all debts in the same way so if say £45k equity for example in the house and he has £25k debt and you have no debts then for divorce that is counted as a couple having net assets of £30,000 and then the division of assets which is not always 50/50 is based on that net amount. Not very fair but divorce law favours the weaker less well off party as I know to my cost as a woman who paid a lot out to a man on divorce.

cluttered Mon 19-Jan-15 17:56:20

Thanks Flower but luckily for me we aren't married as I don't have any debts and do have a final salary pension scheme whereas he has the reverse! We both earn about the same so being married definitely wouldn't have benefited me!

FlowerFairy2014 Tue 20-Jan-15 10:45:05

Good. It's very different if you are not married so that's good news at least.

cluttered Thu 29-Jan-15 22:49:03

Hi, just to say thanks to everyone for their advice, I think it's all nearly sorted now and I didn't have to pay for any legal advice! The letter I sent in first time didn't have the correct wording to count as a certificate but once they received the paperwork I had a rapid email from a very helpful Welsh man with a direct number to call him on. He specified exactly what I needed to write and didn't seem to mind my calling him back today to check it was all in order. The restriction should be entered in the next couple of days and he will send out a new copy of the title document I think. The Land Registry has to be the most friendly and easy to contact government body I have ever dealt with! Thanks again!

LandRegRep1862 Fri 30-Jan-15 10:22:09

Glad it seems to have all gone well - always nice to receive such positive feedback. Thank you

Rjae Fri 30-Jan-15 10:58:59

My personal experience at the hands of my controlling to STBXH was that I didn't want to become tenants in common because he would threaten to leave his half to the dogs home if he died (which he did) hence I refused.

He saw a solicitor who sent a registered letter to me at 7 am so I was woken up and not even thinking (was unsuspecting anyway) and I signed for the letter. That was the only evidence needed. I signed for the postman, papers served and he got his severance.

cluttered Fri 30-Jan-15 13:45:01

Oh dear rjae it sounds like you are well rid of your STBXH. I still think it is fair that if one person wants out of a joint tenancy they should be able to though because in my situation XP is likely to change his will in favour of the OW and if both of us should die where would that leave the DC? I have left my life insurance in trust to the DC and it would easily pay off the remainder of the mortgage but I don't think that would be in the best interest of the DC if XP owned the entire property. At least this way their 50% will be protected if anything should happen to me.

corinakk Sat 20-Feb-16 15:37:31

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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