How do joint mortgages work?

You could get a larger mortgage if you buy a home with someone else. Here is everything you need to know about joint mortgages whether you want to buy with your partner, another person or a group.

Share this guide
Couple Hands Holding Housing Model

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.

What is a joint mortgage?

You can buy a property with one or more other people by getting a mortgage in the names of both or all of you.

Everyone named on the mortgage is responsible for making repayments. Even if you have a joint mortgage where one person is not paying, the responsibility to repay is joint between the mortgage holders. You can decide between you how you share the equity in the property. This is the percentage of it that you own, which increases as you pay off more of the mortgage.

Where can you get a joint mortgage?

Use our comparisons to check what deals you could get and how much they cost. Find a joint mortgage designed for you both if you're:

Who can take out a joint mortgage?

Joint mortgages are usually taken out by couples. They are available to married couples, unmarried couples and civil partners. However, there are other people you can buy a home with including friends or family members, or a business partner who wants to invest in property with you.

Joint mortgages for unmarried couples

According to the ONS, cohabiting unmarried couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. Alongside this, there is a larger number of cohabiting couples getting on the property ladder before getting married, or choosing not to get married at all. What are the best joint mortgage options for long-term partners?

The vast majority of unmarried couples will opt to be joint tenants; where both parties have equal ownership of the property. This means if one person were to die, the joint tenant and partner will automatically inherit the property.

However, what if you have different earnings and would like to contribute different amounts to the mortgage? What if you would like the difference in contributions to be financially protected should the relationship break down? In that case, you may opt to be tenants in common, but bear in mind that your partner will not automatically inherit the property should you pass away.

Can you have a joint mortgage with your parents?

You can get a joint mortgage with a friend or family member who wants to help you afford a property or buy part of one as an investment.

Most joint mortgages are taken out by two people, but some lenders will allow up to four people to buy together. This guide explains the benefits and risks of buying a house with friends or family.

How much can you borrow with a joint mortgage?

You can usually borrow more if you buy with someone else because your combined income will be higher than what you earn alone.

If both of you have a regular income, you will be able to afford a more expensive property than you could on your own.

Lenders used to multiply your income by a set amount to decide how much they would lend you. For example, they might have offered three times your combined income. If you earned £30,000 and your partner earned £20,000 a year, they would lend you up to £150,000.

However, they now base it on a more advanced calculation that takes into account your income, your credit record and what you spend each month on bills and other expenses.

This guide explains how lenders work out how much you can borrow.

How much do joint mortgages cost?

They come with the same costs as standard mortgages, including interest and mortgage fees.

However, if you can save a higher deposit between you, this should give you a better choice of mortgages, so you could choose one with a lower interest rate than if you bought a property alone.

Here is everything you need to know about how much a mortgage costs

How to get a joint mortgage

The process of making a joint mortgage application is the same as applying on your own

Before you apply for a joint mortgage, be sure to check whether you can afford to pay the costs associated with buying a property and make the monthly mortgage payments. To work out how much you can afford to borrow, use our mortgage affordability calculator.

You will need to provide a mortgage deposit for the property you purchase jointly. The amount required for the deposit will depend on where you would like to live and the type of property you hope to buy. 

If you already own a property that you intend to sell, you can use the equity that you own in the property to put towards the deposit for the new property. To find out how much your home is worth, you can obtain a valuation from an estate agent or surveyor.

When applying for a joint mortgage, remember that you and the person you are buying with will need to do the following together:

  • Make decisions

  • Fill in and sign application forms

  • Meet mortgage advisers or solicitors

Find out what types of joint mortgage are out there here

Here is a step by step guide to applying for a mortgage

How does joint ownership work?

Everyone named on a joint mortgage is equally responsible for making sure the full repayment due is made to the lender each month. If there is one person named on the joint mortgage not paying, the other mortgage holders will be responsible for the payments.

You may decide to split the payments 50/50, but if the other borrower stopped paying their half, the lender could pursue you for the missing money. 

If you want to make any changes to your mortgage like borrowing more or changing it to a new fixed rate deal, this will have to be authorised by all of the borrowers.

There are two ways you can each own your property with a joint mortgage:

Joint tenants

Take out a mortgage as joint tenants if you want all of the borrowers to legally be seen as a single owner and to have equal rights in the property. Owning the property equally as joint tenants is usually used by long term couples.

  • If one borrower died, the other borrowers would inherit their share of the property*

  • If you sold the property, any profits would be split among you all equally

  • If you remortgage the property, you will need to get a new mortgage together, not separately

*If you tried to leave your share in the property to someone else in your will, it would still pass to your joint mortgage holders instead.

Tenants in common

Taking out a mortgage as tenants in common lets you all own legally separate shares in the property. This is usually used when friends, family members or business partners buy a property together.

  • The shares you each own can be for whatever percentage you choose and do not have to be split evenly

  • You can sell your share in the property separately

  • You can leave your share of the property to someone else in your will

For example, if you bought a property worth £150,000 with one other person and you owned 60% of it, your share would be worth £90,000 once the mortgage has been paid off.

A solicitor can draw up a deed of trust, which is a legal document that specifies the percentage of the property you each own.

Do you need mortgage protection insurance?

Joint mortgages will affect your credit report

If you apply to borrow money in the future, lenders will run a credit check when they decide whether to accept you. The following could show on your credit record if you have a joint mortgage:

  1. A financial association with the person you buy with. This person will be linked to you on your credit record, so if they have bad credit it could affect what lenders think of your ability to meet repayments.

  2. Borrowing money shows on your credit report, and the amount of debt you have will influence whether lenders think you can afford to borrow more.

  3. Missed or late payments show up too and are likely to put off potential lenders.

Here is everything you need to know about your credit report

Can you have two mortgages?

It is possible to get a second mortgage and is similar to the normal mortgage application process, however, lenders are likely to apply stricter affordability criteria as you have two mortgages to repay. There are various factors that lenders will look at when deciding whether to approve a second mortgage - primarily, whether or not you are likely to be able to repay the loan. 

If you plan to take out a second mortgage to purchase a holiday home, second property or buy to let property, you may need to take out a specific type of loan, such as a buy to let mortgage.

Can a joint mortgage be split?

Yes, you can get out of a joint mortgage, but it can be complicated in some circumstances. You can either sell the property and share the money you get from it, or one person could buy the other's share in the property.

If you need to get out of a mortgage because of a relationship breakdown, read our guide to your mortgage options.

Tenants in common

If you own property as tenants in common, selling one owner's share to another is possible. If the buyer cannot afford to buy it outright, they will need a mortgage to cover it or to extend their own mortgage. They will only be able to do this if their mortgage company believes they can afford the new higher repayments.

Joint tenants

If you are joint tenants, you need the agreement of everyone on the mortgage before you can sell the property.

Alternatively, you could change your mortgage arrangement so you are tenants in common, as explained in this Citizens Advice guide to ending a joint mortgage. One homeowner could then sell their share in the property to the other.

If you're a first time buyer or looking to move house or remortgage, we can help you find the best mortgage deal to suit your needs.