Ownership – Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common

Whenever two or more people purchase a property, they have the option of being joint tenants or entering into an agreement as Tenants in Common.

An agreement between Tenants in Common will set out in writing how the property is owned and who is responsible for what – such as the ownership percentage and share of costs and maintenance expenses. Tenants in common can own a property in unequal shares (eg. 80% and 20%) where as joint tenants own the property equally.

The main difference between joint tenants and tenants in common is the way in which property rights continue if one of the co-owners dies. Under a joint tenancy, their share of the property passes to the remaining owners at the time of death. In a tenancy in common, property interests will pass to the beneficiaries of the estate as specified in their will. If there is no valid will at the time of death, the property interest will pass accordingly to the rules of the State.

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