In many areas, house prices are more than several multiples of an average income. With mortgage providers currently erring on the side of caution, buying a house as an individual is simply unrealistic for many. An increasing number of people are considering pooling resources, and income multiples, and purchasing with a friend. But is this a wise move?


Taking out a mortgage with another person creates a financial link and ties the two parties together far more strongly than a joint tenancy agreement, which is a rather more common arrangement of cohabiting amongst friends. A mortgage should never be entered into lightly and without much discussion. Although nobody expects to fall out with their friend, this could happen, and even the very best of pairings will most likely ultimately want to move out to live with a life partner, in time. So although this should be an exciting time, as much attention should be paid to the ways in which the arrangement can be ended as is given to getting it set up in the first place.

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Legal perspective

The Law Society has produced a comprehensive guide to getting a cohabitation agreement drawn up. They also provide information about your rights without such an agreement, although this more commonly applies to unmarried couples with children rather than cohabiting friends. However, cohabitation agreements aren’t actually legally binding and can be challenged in court.

Getting legal advice and also securing the services of an expert conveyancing company such as Sam Conveyancing will ensure both parties are fully aware and informed of their options and positions. A no sale no fee conveyancing service could also be employed in order to keep legal costs down, given the extra layer of complexity to this sort of purchasing arrangement.

Types of ownership

Advice should be sought as to whether two friends should own the property as joint tenants, or tenants in common. In short, joint tenants have equal ownership and should one party die, the ownership of the property passes to the other, regardless of any will. Tenants in common can have unequal shares and can also allocate their own share of the property however they wish in their will. Again, as this is a complex and potentially emotionally difficult conversation. Friends who intend to purchase together really do need to sit and consider what would happen if their joint purchase ended through one of them dying.


Once the legal and financial aspects have been thoroughly discussed and resolved, thoughts should then turn to the day-to-day practicalities. Anyone who has ever lived in shared accommodation, be it as a student or as a shared tenancy with friends, will be aware that you never really know someone until you have lived with them for some time. Parties may choose to take responsibility for some bills each, or put them all in joint names. Care should be taken to ensure that both parties have at least one bill in their name, as proof of address and identification on an official bill is still required to support applications for some services.

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A shared mortgage is a far more significant commitment than a shared tenancy agreement, and sound legal advice should be sought at all stages by both parties.

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