Transfers affecting co-owners

Most transfers by co-owners are quite straightforward because all the co-owners are acting in concert. However, there are a small number of transactions which deserve special consideration.

Transfers from one joint tenant to the other

Very often such transactions involve the transfer of a property to one party subject to an existing charge. The Registry does not require a consent by the charge owner since the transfer will automatically be subject to the charge. However, in many instances it will be desirable to join the lending institution as a party.

Transfer by a sole surviving joint tenant

Please lodge the following Certificate of identity together with a transfer deed. The transfer should quote the full names of the registered owners and refer to the transferor as ‘AB the sole surviving registered owner’.

Severance of a joint tenancy

Where all the joint tenants are in agreement, severance may be effected by a simple transfer, in LR form 9, to themselves as tenants in common. In Panel B the transferees should be described as "the said AB of etc and the said CB of etc as tenants in common in equal shares". If the joint tenants are not all in agreement it is still possible to effect a severance. There are a number of ways in which this can be done but the most common method is for one joint tenant to charge his interest in favour of a third party (see Form of Charge deeds and Precedent 17.A - Charge deeds) and have the charge redeemed immediately afterwards.

Transfers by tenants in common to themselves as joint tenants

Provided that all the co-owners are in agreement, a tenancy in common may be converted into a joint tenancy by way of a simple transfer. Such transactions attract the minimum fee.

Transfers from one tenant in common to the other co-owners and a third party

Such transactions are quite straightforward provided that the deed makes it clear that the transferee is the other registered owner. If the transfer is to be subject to an existing charge, (see Transfers from one joint tenant to another above).

Partition of land between co-owners

It is suggested that the deed should be based on the following precedent, and that a counterpart should be prepared for each party. 

Equity-sharing schemes

The scheme operated by Northern Ireland Co-ownership Housing Association Limited involves that association purchasing land and then demising an interest in that land to a participant in the scheme, for a term of 99 years. It is highly desirable that all documents relating to the purchase and demise are lodged for registration at the same time. When registration is finalised, the respective interests acquired will be registered in two folios - a "parent" folio in the ownership of the association and a leasehold (or sub-leasehold) folio in the name of the Participant.

If, in due course, the Participant purchases the association's interest he will normally expect that the term of 99 years, which was created by the equity-sharing lease, should be extinguished by merger - see Rule 116. However, in many instances the estate to be extinguished will be subject to a charge and merger can only take place if the charge is released or "carried up" as a burden on the parent folio. This can be affected by way of a Deed of substituted security. These applications are usually set out in the transfer deeds.

The documents to be lodged in the Registry are:

  • the transfer deed, incorporating the application for merger - Precedent 13.F - Transfer from NICHA Limited to the existing participant signed by both parties
  • the counterparts of the equity-sharing lease
  • releases of any charges where a Deed of Substituted Security is to be registered, it should be prepared in duplicate
  • a consent by the Department for Communities to the sale. If the transfer deed contains a statement that the purchase price was calculated in accordance with the terms of the equity-sharing lease, the transaction will come within the terms of the "blanket consent" issued by the Department
  • LR form 100 and the registration fee

A variation of the above transaction, which can sometimes create problems, occurs where property held under the co-ownership scheme is sold by a charge owner, acting as mortgagee in possession.

The documents to be lodged in the Registry are:

  • the transfer deed - Precedent 13.G - Transfer by NICHA Limited and a mortgagee in possession signed by all parties
  • the counterparts of the equity sharing-lease
  • releases of any charges (for example charging orders for rates) having priority over the vendor's charge
  • a consent by the Department for Communities to the sale (see above)
  • LR form 100 and the registration fee

Where property which is held under the co-ownership scheme is to be sold by the Participant, it is normal for the Participant to acquire the interest of the association (adopting the procedure referred to above) and then to transfer the land in the superior folio to the purchaser. If, however, the purchaser also intends to participate in the co-ownership scheme it is normally convenient for him to acquire only the Participant's interest under the equity-sharing lease. It is important that the association should join as a party to the transfer, since equity-sharing leases contain a covenant restricting alienation.

The documents to be lodged in the Registry are:

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