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Joint mortgages

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What's a joint mortgage?

A joint mortgage is when you take out a loan to purchase a property with 1 or more people. Some lenders allow up to 4 people on the mortgage, but the number depends on the lender.

This allows you to combine incomes in order to borrow more, but it also helps you put more of a deposit down as more people are contributing.

Everyone named on the mortgage is responsible for the loan and repayments.

Joint mortgages are often used by couples to purchase a property together. But you can also apply for a mortgage with friends or family members.

How do joint mortgages work?

Joint mortgages work the same as a mortgage you'd take out on your own. The applicants put down a deposit and borrow the remaining amount from a lender to purchase a property. The amount you borrow is calculated as a percentage of the property value or price (whichever is lower) – this is known as the loan-to-value (LTV).

All of the applicants are then named on the mortgage and liable for the debt and repayments. The monthly repayment amount depends on the loan amount and interest rate.

You and the other borrowers can decide how to split the repayments. But if the repayments aren't made in full for any reason, the property could be at risk of repossession, and this would also negatively impact the credit ratings of all those on the mortgage.

With a joint mortgage, everyone who's going to be on the mortgage needs to apply. The lender looks at all applicants with regards to eligibility criteria. They look at the income, outgoings and credit history of all applicants to decide whether to accept your application.

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How much can you borrow with a joint mortgage?

Lenders usually allow you to borrow around 4.5 times your annual income. If you apply for a mortgage with 1 or more other people, some lenders only consider a maximum of 2 combined incomes while others consider multiple. Every lender calculates joint mortgages slightly differently.

This can be helpful in increasing your budget to allow you to afford a larger or more expensive property.

But remember that you normally still require a deposit worth at least 5% of the property value or price (whichever is lower) to get a mortgage. A 5% deposit would give you a 95% mortgage, but if you can all save more and put down a larger deposit, you normally get access to better rates.

Advantages and disadvantages of joint mortgages

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Advantages of joint mortgages:

  • You can borrow more than if you were taking out a mortgage by yourself
  • It may be easier to save a larger deposit as multiple people are contributing
  • If you are unable to make the mortgage payment for any reason (sickness for example), your partner or someone else on the mortgage may be able to cover your share for a time
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Disadvantages of joint mortgages:

  • If someone else can't make their repayments and you can't afford to cover them, this could put the property at risk of repossession and your credit rating could be impacted
  • Depending on the type of ownership you choose, you may have to wait for the other party to agree before selling the property
  • If you take out a mortgage with someone who has poor credit, you may not be able to borrow as much as expected, and you may also face higher interest rates on the mortgage, if they accept your application

Joint tenants versus tenants in common

In legal terms there are 2 main ways that multiple people can own a residential property:

  • Joint tenants - Is where the people involved jointly own the property and are regarded as a single legal entity. If you wish to sell the property, for example, everyone has to agree. And if one person dies, the property passes to the other owner or owners. Joint tenancies are most commonly used for couples. In Scotland, rather than joint tenants the legal system uses the term ‘joint owners with a survivorship clause’.
  • Tenants in common - Means that each joint owner has a claim to a separate share of the property. These shares don’t have to be of equal size. This option is seen more when groups of friends or relatives buy together.

Unlike joint tenants, tenants in common can leave their share of the property to anyone they like in their will.

In theory, tenants in common would be able to take out their own mortgage for their own share. But this is rare and joint tenants are usually the most common.

Whatever form of ownership you choose, you’ll still be jointly liable to repayments due on any joint mortgage you sign up for.

Can you get a joint mortgage paid by 1 person?

Yes, 1 person could pay the repayments on a joint mortgage.

Everyone on the mortgage agreement is responsible for the repayments. But you can decide how to split the repayments between borrowers.

The lender doesn't usually mind who makes the repayments as long as they're paid in full. So if only one of the borrowers is happy to pay the total amount, that's okay.

But if they can't make the payments at any point, you're all responsible for the debt. If the other borrowers can't cover the cost, the property is at risk of repossession and your credit rating could be negatively impacted.

What happens to a joint mortgage if I separate from my partner?

If you break up with your partner and are both on the joint mortgage, you have a few options:

  • Sell the home and repay the mortgage – you can then split any proceeds from the sale
  • One partner buys the other out of the property – they need to be sure they can afford the repayments by themselves
  • You remain on the mortgage together but one of you moves out – whoever stays could consider taking in a lodger to help with mortgage costs. But it's best to speak to a solicitor who can help keep this arrangement fair for both parties.

If you and your partner have children, there are also legal agreements you can have drawn up which state the house can't be sold until a certain point (for example, when the kids have moved out).

Mortgages with your parents

Parents are often keen to help their children get onto the property ladder, and some may look at joint mortgages as a possible solution.

A parent could apply for a mortgage with their child, but there are a number of potential issues to address.

  • Some lenders may require joint borrowers to live in the mortgaged property.
  • The parent may already have their own mortgage commitment, which means less of their income can be taken into account.
  • The new property could be considered as the parent’s second home, which means they might face extra tax charges.

You can get joint sole proprietor (JBSP) mortgages, which allow someone to take out a mortgage with someone else, but the second person doesn't have ownership of the property. They do have joint responsibility for the mortgage though.

This allows the main applicant to borrow more, but still have full ownership of the home. Essentially, the lender has reassurance that the other person on the mortgage can step in and pay the loan if required.

In that sense, it's similar to a guarantor mortgage – this is when someone acts as a guarantor for a mortgage loan, promising to repay it if the applicant can't for any reason.

What our expert says

"Joint mortgages are commonly associated with couples buying together. But you can also use them to purchase a house with friends or family members, with some lenders allowing up to 4 people on a mortgage. This might be an option to help you and others on to the property ladder, but make sure you consider all the implications before taking on a mortgage with others."

Claire Flynn, Senior Content Editor at Mojo
Senior Content Editor | Mojo, Mortgages Expert | Confused.com Mojo logo

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Learn about different mortgage types

Tips & guides on joint mortgages

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Need more help?

Can you transfer a joint mortgage to 1 person?

It is possible in some circumstances to transfer a joint mortgage to 1 person provided the lender is satisfied that the repayments can still be met. This means whoever is taking the mortgage needs to show their income is enough to cover it. If that isn't the case, there are options such as extending the mortgage term or getting a guarantor to help.

However, generally you're expected to remortgage onto a new deal in your sole name, and repay the old borrowing in the process.

Can you get a joint mortgage with bad credit?

Yes you may, as there are some lenders who specialise in bad credit mortgages although you may have to pay higher interest rates.

Even if someone has a great credit score, but another person doesn't, that still has the ability to impact your success in getting a lender willing to borrow you the money.

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Page last reviewed: 15 November 2023

Reviewed by: Claire Flynn

YOU SHOULD THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME/PROPERTY. YOUR HOME/PROPERTY MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. 

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate mortgages for commercial or investment buy-to-let properties. 

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