Distinguishing Joint Tenants from Tenants in Common

Joint Tenants vs Tenants in Common

Buying a property is an exciting experience that not only provides the pride of ownership but also offers tax benefits. However, purchasing a property jointly with one’s spouse or multiple people can be a complicated process, as there are two distinct forms of joint ownership: joint tenants and tenants in common. Understanding the difference between these two types of ownership is crucial when deciding on the title of the property. This article examines the distinctions between joint tenants and tenants in common.

Joint Tenants

Joint tenancy is typically seen when a husband and wife jointly own a property. In this situation, both parties are treated as joint tenants with equal rights to the property. There is no distinction between joint tenants, and both have undivided shares of the property. The law views both owners as equals, with each owning the entirety of the property. If one owner dies, the ownership rights transfer to the surviving tenant, who can then sell the property as their own, requiring only the death certificate of the deceased tenant.

Tenants in Common

In a tenants in common arrangement, the owners have separate shares of the property that may be equal or unequal. This type of arrangement is common when the buyers have a relationship such as business partners, friends, or relatives. Tenants in common can relinquish their share, sell it, or bequeath it to someone of their choice. One owner can mortgage their share in the property without the knowledge or consent of the other owner(s). Additionally, one of the owners can give their share to another person by mentioning it in their will before passing away.

Key Takeaways

  • Joint tenants and tenants in common are two distinct arrangements of joint property ownership that have nothing to do with tenancy.
  • In the case of joint tenants, there is no division of property shares, and both parties are considered equal owners of the property.
  • Tenants in common have separate and distinct shares of the property, which can be equal or unequal, and each owner can sell or mortgage their share without informing the other owner(s).
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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