What does holding property as “tenants in common” mean?

JointOwnership 2

When two or more persons own property together they hold the property as either:
tenants in common OR joint tenants. Tenancy in common” is a type of ownership by two or more persons of the same property. For example, If Sarah and Jane own a piece of land as “tenants in common” it means they share ownership of the property and have an undivided right to keep or dispose of the property.

Unlike joint tenants (see here) who always have equal interest/share in a property, tenants in common may have different ownership interests. For example, Hilda and Tony may each own 25% of a property, while Jill owns 50%.

When persons own property as “tenants in common” it means when one owner dies his/her share DOES NOT go to the other owners; the owner has the right to leave his/her share of the property to any beneficiary he/she wishes.

Therefore, as tenants in common:

  • you can own different shares of the property
  • the property doesn’t automatically go to the other owners if you die
  • you can pass on your share of the property in your will

Joint tenancy” is another type of ownership by two or more persons of the same property. To learn how “joint tenancy” is different from a “tenancy in common” CLICK HERE.


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