Co-ownership of property- can I sell my share?

It’s no secret that property prices have risen so high that it’s difficult for many people to get on the property ladder. Many couples these days make the decision to purchase a property instead of, or before, marriage. So what happens if a relationship breaks down for an unmarried couple who own a property together?

If two or more people own a property (whether on the legal title or by having a beneficial interest), the first step would be to have a discussion with the other owner(s) to see what they want to do with the property. It is important to try to understand each other’s position and try to reach an agreement without court proceedings. If one party is in a position to buy the other party’s share of the property, then it might be beneficial to explore this and save other costs, such as estate agents fees.

Often, it’s not always easy to have these conversations especially if the relationship is antagonised. If parties are unable to reach a resolution then you may be able to apply to the court for an Order for Sale. Court proceedings are not an easy or quick way out though. The courts will expect parties to have attempted to reach a resolution and you could be penalised with cost consequences if you do not engage in discussions. If a claim is issued, parties will have the opportunity to put their case and evidence forward before a hearing is listed in front of a judge. The costs of these proceedings can quickly escalate, so it is always advisable to seek advice before you find yourself in the middle of court proceedings.

There are many factors to consider before you start court proceedings, including:

  • Who is currently living in the property and do you need a possession order?
  • Are there young children living in the property and do you need to consider any arrangements for the children?
  • Do you need to ask the court to consider anything else financially, such as occupation rent?
  • Are you under any time restrictions to obtain a sale?
  • Will enforcement of any order be an issue?

Seeking legal advice early could assist with identifying and attempting to limit/settle some of the issues before court proceedings are issued.

If you want to sell a property that you jointly own with another person, please call Lucy, start a live chat or email us at

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Lucy Penfold

Senior Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

Lucy is a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown and specialises in property litigation and contentious trusts and probate. Lucy...

Lucy-Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution

Senior Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

Lucy Penfold

Lucy is a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown and specialises in property litigation and contentious trusts and probate.

Lucy completed her law degree at Kingston University before completing the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Guildford (now the University of Law). Lucy qualified in 2012 and brings with her general commercial litigation experience from Central London and Surrey law firms.

A member of the Property Litigation Association, Lucy deals with all areas of property litigation including varied landlord and tenant disputes, evictions, neighbour disputes, boundary disputes, commercial property disputes, property disrepairs and dilapidations.

Lucy also deals with various contentious probate matters, including interpreting the terms of wills, brining or defending claims to contest wills or trusts, and executor removal disputes.

Lucy’s general commercial litigation experience allows her to have a pragmatic and commercial approach to any legal issue faced.

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