Advantages of joint property ownership with spouse

I am in a relationship that is headed towards marriage – should things turn out well. We have resolved to buy land and construct residential units for renting. That said, I am not comfortable with having the title deed solely in the name of my partner. Is it possible to have the document with both our names as co-owners and what would be the advantages?

Tina, Nairobi

Yes, it is possible for both of you to register the plot as joint owners for your names to all appear in the title deed. Joint ownership of property is fast gaining momentum among couples following the increasing economic empowerment of women.  

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Joint ownership guarantees survivorship, meaning upon the death of any of the owners(s), the surviving one(s) become legal owners, therefore preventing tussles.

There is also safety from unsecured creditors as the surviving joint owner is immune from unsecured debts incurred by the deceased partner before death.

If the debtor is the survivor, creditors will have access to the entire property that was co-owned.

For couples that prefer joint ownership, they may be eligible for higher loan amounts as their incomes can be joined to determine borrowing eligibility.

It could also be easier to pool resources to buy property as partners, especially with high interest rates charged on loans.

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In countries like India, joint ownership means tax benefits are available for both husband and wife. If a husband and wife have property with equal shares, then they are both entitled to claim deductions.

Joint ownership also makes it easier for any of the partners to pledge the property as security to borrow loans in future.

It enables easy transfer of a house or land among spouses, as they can nominate their children as future owners of the property.

Moreover, the husband and wife have equal rights in the property and their interests are secured.

The writer is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

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