InsightsInsight - Property and Conveyancing, Tax Planning - UPDATED: March 10 2023
Changing ownership of property: how Transfer of Equity works
There are many circumstances where it might be desirable or necessary to change the ownership of a property between parties.
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Transfer of Equity is the legal process used to add or remove someone as an owner from the title of property.
This process does not involve a sale of the property and at least one of the original owners will remain the same.
When would you use Transfer of Equity?
Circumstances where a Transfer of Equity might take place are:
- removing your ex-partner from the title if you have divorced or separated
- adding your spouse/civil partner to the title if you have married, remarried or entered into a civil partnership
- changing the percentage of shares owned by the co-owners of a jointly-owned property, or buying out a co-owner’s share in the property
- reducing future Inheritance Tax liabilities or taking advantage of personal capital gains limits.
What is equity?
Equity is the value of your property minus the value of any outstanding mortgage. However the expression ‘transfer of equity’ is also commonly used where there is a continuing mortgage but the owners change.
What is the Transfer of Equity process?
The process will be slightly different depending on whether or not you still have a mortgage on your property.
How long does Transfer of Equity take?
The Transfer of Equity process takes six to eight weeks on average, dependent on whether a mortgagee is involved.
Do both parties need a solicitor?
We would advise both parties to seek independent legal advice.
Is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) payable on Transfer of Equity?
In some cases, a transfer of equity could also trigger SDLT, dependent on the value of the share being transferred. As your solicitor, we would advise at an early stage how you might be affected.
Issues you should consider
A Transfer of Equity could be useful when you are looking at tax planning. It is important to get expert advice at an early stage to consider whether this is appropriate.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
The tax implications of an equity transfer depend on the nature of the transfer. Currently no CGT is charged on transfers to a spouse, civil partner or charity.
On a transfer to anyone else, including children, then the transfer itself may trigger CGT or there could be tax consequences for the future.
Do both parties need a solicitor?
In a transfer of equity transaction, the owner who is buying a share of the property must be represented by a solicitor or conveyancer.
The person being bought out does not necessarily need a solicitor or conveyancer. But they must give their agreement freely without undue influence and ID regulations must be satisfied.
Transfer of Equity in leasehold properties
There are extra steps involved where the property being transferred is a leasehold property. It can also be costly to satisfy the requirements of the freeholder and any managing agents.
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This content is correct at time of publication
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