JOINT TENANTS OR TENANTS IN COMMON

If you are purchasing property with one or more people, you will have to decide whether you will purchase the property as joint tenants, or tenants in common.

JOINT TENANCY

In circumstances where property is purchased as joint tenants the purchasers will jointly and equally own the whole of the property. They will have equal and indivisible rights to keep, dispose and use the property. In theory, what this means is that each joint tenant considers that the property is his or her own.

Because each joint tenant considers that the property is theirs, when a joint tenant dies, the property passes to the surviving joint tenants. The process continues until there is only one surviving joint tenant left, who becomes the sole owner of the property. This process occurs regardless of what the joint tenant may have wished or written in his or her will, their interest in the property does not form part of the their testamentary estate.

Owning property as joint tenants will not prevent the property from being sold, provided that all joint tenants agree to the sale.

TENANTS IN COMMON

Purchasing property as tenants in common allows property to be purchased in equal or unequal shares. Unlike purchasing property as joint tenants, there is no intention or perceived ownership of the whole of the property. Instead, shares in a property purchased as tenants in common represent the purchaser’s actual interest in the property.

Shares in a property owned as tenants in common can form part of your will/estate. This means that they are not automatically left to your co-owner, and can be left to a beneficiary of your choosing.

WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU?

People commonly purchase property as joint tenants when they are purchasing property with their spouse, or when the purchasers want their co-owners to acquire the whole of the property following their death. People purchase property as tenants in common when they are purchasing unequal shares in a property, or when they have no intention for their interest in the property to be left to their co-owner.

Ultimately the best person to decide upon whether you purchase property as joint tenants or tenants in common, is you.