Owning a home in New Hampshire comes with so many different legal concerns. There are many things to know, whether you are just signing the paperwork for the mortgage or you have owned the home for years and now need to determine what to do with it when a spouse dies. Owning a house jointly with another person may seem fairly straightforward. However, in the state of New Hampshire, there is a legal loophole many joint tenants are unaware of.
The default law for two people owning a home in New Hampshire states that both parties own a separate and distinct share of the same property. This is known as tenants in common. Therefore, if a couple, or two friends or family members, want to purchase a house together as joint tenants, they must add specific language to the deed to override the tenants in common law. The language must read that the two people are joint tenants or are joint tenants with rights of survivorship.
Tenants in Common Interest and Ownership
As far as the ownership and interest in a house for tenants in common, owners must follow specific guidelines. One of the owners can sell their interest in the property, as long as they do not affect the other person’s interest. Neither owner can do anything with the other owner’s interest though.
If the specific amount of ownership is questioned, the default is normally that each owner owns half. And yet, both owners have complete use of the entire property.
Upon one owner’s death, their heir would receive their share of the interest of the house to share with the other owner. If there are multiple heirs, and a will does not mention a specific heir, then each heir would receive a percentage of the interest in the home.
Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship Interest and Ownership
The guidelines for interest and ownership of a house are different when the deed states there are joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTROS). In this scenario, neither person can sell their interest in the home. The reason for this is the result of the sale would affect the other owner. After all, with JTROS, both parties own the house (and property) as a whole.
Therefore, both owners must agree to sell the home, unless one owner has legal Power of Attorney to act on behalf of the other owner. This scenario usually occurs when the owners are older and one of the owners is ill and can no longer take care of legal matters.
When one owner dies, the other owner retains full ownership of the property. The heirs could not claim ownership until the second owner died. This is true even if there is a will that states otherwise.
Mortgage on a Jointly Owned Home in New Hampshire
No matter which joint ownership is listed on the deed to a home, a single owner can never take out a mortgage for the entire property without the other owner’s consent. Tenants in common owner may be able to obtain a mortgage for their own portion of the property without needing to obtain the other owner’s consent. However, joint tenants would always need the consent of the other owner.
It is important to note that all owners of a home are liable for any tax liens. If a foreclosure takes place, it affects everyone.
Do you own a home with another person? Do you have questions about joint tenants or tenants in common? Contact the office today to schedule a consultation.