Division of Joint Tenancy or Changing Joint Ownership in Spain


Posted and filed under Legal Issues in Spain.


From time to time we receive an enquiry advising that someone is getting a divorce. One person is going to retain the Spanish apartment and the other the house in the UK, for example. Therefore they need to take one name off the Spanish property and transfer ownership to the other. So how do people go about this and how much would it cost?

Division of Joint Ownership

This is known as a dissolution of joint ownership or division of joint tenancy. There is a method to deal with the transfer whereby the property is only subject to payment of Stamp Duty in Spain. In this region this is at the rate of 1.5% on the outgoing share. This is paid by the co-owner keeping the property or agreed between the couple as part of the divorce. This is as opposed to the normal 10% buying tax and 3% retention being withheld in this region when a purchase/sale.

Stamp Duty

Besides the cost of 1.5% Stamp Duty on the outgoing share, if there is a mortgage the Bank has to agree. Of course, they will have their fees for re-arranging the mortgage, which they advise directly. The clients would need to supply the Bank with all the paperwork they require. However as Banks rarely agree now to take a name off a mortgage. As they do not want to lose a guarantor. Sometimes it is best just to do a private contract between customers so that the outgoing party would be absolved of the mortgage.

Costs on a Dissolution of Joint Ownership

Notary fees, land registry fees, stamp duty, and legal fees have to be paid. (As well as the bank´s fees if there is a mortgage). We can advise the fees for making the change of the deed at the Notary. We need the deeds of the property and the local council tax bill for last year (SUMA in our area). Plus details of the mortgage if there is one.

Process of Change of Ownership

The process usually takes about a month to six weeks. Really it depends whether all the information is readily available. And if clients both would be coming to Spain or whether we would need prepare and send powers of attorney to them in the UK. We will also need a copy of any divorce agreement.

Sometimes clients say to us that on doing my research on this matter they have come across a situation. Whereby the person who is giving up their half of the property has to prove that they have received monetary compensation from the person retaining the property. In many cases, someone does not receive any actual monetary compensation. But as part of the divorce settlement would be awarded the ex ‘s 50% share in the property in the UK or Ireland.

So does this qualify for only paying the 1.5% stamp duty in some areas rather than paying as a more expensive purchase and sale? The answer is yes. A copy of the divorce or separation agreement will suffice to justify the stamp duty, so that is fine.

We can act all over Spain for this process. In the first instance, either the deeds and IBI can be scanned and emailed. Or clients can send copies by mail.

Then we can calculate costs and advise them and the process for changing the ownership. Contact us if you are interested in a division of jointly owned property and want to ask questions or send us the deeds.


  • Eamonn Cotter

    We are 4 owners ( 2 couples) each with a quarter share of a Spanish property. Can two sell to a third owner under dissolution of joint ownership,giving that owner three quarter share and leaving the 4 the owner one quarter? Thank you

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Eamonn, No, a dissolution of joint ownership procedure can only be used to one name unfortunately, whereas your intentions would leave 2 owners. It would have to be a purchase and sale of the shares of property if transacted that way, which would be much more expensive. Please contact me if you need any further guidance. With kind regards. Amanda

  • Gillian Phillips

    Hello. Please could you advise me where I stand in relation the situation where I was forced to leave my co-owner partner of a property in Spain last February 2020. I realise I can’t force him to sell the property, but wonder if I am entitled to receive any monies from the property.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Gillian, Under Spanish law, no two co-owners of a property need be forced to remain co-owners, so if one wants out, basically you can do a forced division of joint tenancy or dissolution of ownership if he does not agree, by taking it through the Courts. A normal change of ownership to onw name is cheaper than a purchase and sale but still costs minimum 4,000€ with tax and stamp duty, one through the Courts does cost more, but you do own 50% of the property and are entitled to that, less any deductions for debts that would be apportioned to you. If you would like to take this forward please email me, Kind regards. Amanda

  • Mary Simmonds

    For a forced dissolution of joint property in Spain Can you please tell me would I have to pay court costs and any other associated costs upfront or will the money be taken after the auction. There is no mortgage or any other debts and I own half the property. How long would all of this take thank you

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Mary, Firstly, we would start on the basis of trying to make an agreement by pointing out both parties lose out if a forced division of joint tenancy, but if not possible then yes we need do a legal action in Court. Barrister and clerk of courts do need to be paid in advance although sometimes we allow payment in stages. It is difficult to say how long it would take as it depends on the parties involved and also the particular Court’s workload but maybe 1-2 years. If we can help further please send me the deeds and suma/Ibi and a little more detail and I can quote. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Derek Statham

    I have recently sold a property in Spain which had a joint mortgage on it, but my ex partner who was joint name has only resided in the property for approximately 10of the 20 years we owned it. She has never contributed to the repayments or domestic and maintenance bills of property and she wasn’t residing in the property when sold. My daughter and my two grandchildren were. On completion of the sale it was agreed the balance check was payed into my account. Now after a messy break up, my ex is asking for the money.
    What is my position, with her not contributing over the years ???

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Derek, I am sorry to hear this. She would have to probably prove that she contributed to the mortgage and bills. Do you have a solicitor in Spain? If you would like us to help, please send me an email. Kind regards, Amanda

  • Sarah Munro

    I have residency in Spain and have a joint mortgage with my ex partner. He is trying to get more than me for the sale of property As he put in more money when we bought the house (20% sale value ) however, I have contributed to all bills and payed the 10% tax, furniture and half his car loan . Does this mean I am entitled to half the equity? We have 120000 euros left to pay and he has said he is now not paying the mortgage . I think the house would sell for 175000 euros. What would be the costs involved in putting up for sale etc. We live in Tenerife.
    Our joint account is in both names snd I have a seperate account ,

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Sarah, I am sorry but we are on the mainland, you really need a lawyer in Tenerife to deal with the sale and to assist with advice for negotiations for your part of the equity. With kind regards,

  • Ann

    We have a house left to me and 2 other siblings in Spain. I want nothing to do with it, and my one sibling is refusing to negotiate a sale. Any court case, as we understand, would name mom due to the usufructo. We really don’t want to sue our parent to have this dissolution. Is there any way I can walk away from it and sell my ownership to the sibling I have a relationship with and he can deal with it at a later date?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Ann, Yes, you an as long as the probate is completed and the house is in joint names already. Then yes, you can sell your share to your sibling that you communicate with. It has to be come partly yours before you can take any action. We can help with this. If the probate has not been done and the house is not already in your names, then the probate must be completed first. And that may involve Court action between you if one party will not agree to do anything. With kind regards, Amanda

  • John B

    My partner and I jointly own a property in Spain (no mortgage). We are not married just live together as partners in the UK. We want to change the deeds from both our names to just one of us as the owner. How do we go about it and what sort of costs would we be looking at?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi John, If you can send me the deeds and the property tax bill (suma/IBI) to me at sales@spanishsolutions.net I can quote the total costs. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Sean Haimes

    My wife left our home in Spain in 2013, in 2015 I had to make repairs to the property which she said she would pay 50% of, despite my getting quotes, she refused to do so, so I went ahead with the repairs, mainly to a collapsed roof. she still has not made any contribution saying it could come from the sale of the property. in 2017 she demanded it was sold as she wanted her share of the capital. Again, I got various agents in to do valuations, again, she refused to do so and then accused the agents of attempting to defraud her of her rightful share. In 2020 she demanded a meeting and that we sort out selling the house without using lawyers or the courts. Of course lawyers couldn’t be excluded. Eventually in 2021 a meeting was held in my lawyers office where she accompanied by her lawyer made various proposals and demands. In or der to settle things I/we agreed to everything she asked for. Lawyers then drew up the agreement for signing by both party’s at which point she said she would not sign. I have put up with many years of abuse like this and just want it settled as I am in my 70’s and seriously ill. What can be done?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Sean, I am very sorry to hear this. It needs an enforced dissolution of joint ownership to be started through the Courts as no two people have to remain co-owners. If you are local to us we could maybe help. Or to say to your lawyer that you wish to take this Court route. It will be long and expensive but at the moment it seems unlikely matters will change and maybe only a Judge can resolve this. Kind regards Amanda

  • margherita ciraolo

    Hello, My father passed away several years ago. He and my mother owned a property in Spain. My mother has not completed probate and the 3 siblings have not accepted their inheritance yet due to 1 sibling not willing to co-operate. Can my mother sell the property without the siblings consent. the siblings do not have their names against the property, infact my deceased father still has his name on the deeds along with my mother?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Margherita, I am sorry for your loss. No, before anything can be done probate must be completed. Your mother only owns a part of the property and until it is all in the heir/s’ names it cannot be sold. If one heir will not agree to proceed the next step is to take them to Court in Spain I am afraid, so as the others can have access to their inheritance. With kind regards,


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