Difference between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common

When dealing with property laws, you will often come across terms such as joint tenancy and tenancy in common. While both represent ownership of property, the title, proportion and rights over land will vary depending on the type of co-ownership you have adopted.

In a joint tenancy, each homeowner has an equal interest in the property title. This is usually the case for married couples, which secure or own the whole of their property without any division. In case of tenancy in common, homeowners will have distinct interests or shares in the property, where one party can own a greater proportion (says 60 percent), as compared to the other (say 40 percent).

The differences between the two concepts stem from this vary fact and continue with broader factors which come into play upon the death of one owner. In a joint tenancy, the property will be transferred to the surviving owner as both had an equal interest in it. However, in case of a tenancy in common, the property will be passed on to the beneficiaries of the deceased, according to his or her share in the property. If the deceased has written a will, then the property will be divided according to his or her will, which will further depend on the stake he or she held. If no will is written, it is for the probate court to decide the property share.

In order to create a joint tenancy agreement, both interested parties must have the same deed or document at the same time. In a tenancy in common on the other hand, the titles don’t need to be obtained from the same document or at the same time.

If the property deed does not specifically state the type of co-ownership arrangement between the involved parties (two unmarried individuals), then it will be considered a property owned as a tenants in common.

Joint Tenancy can put one property owner at risk if the other has any pending dues. In such scenario, the law clearly states that creditors have the right for foreclosure, even if the other tenant had no involvement.


  • 1

    Joint Tenancy

    It is a type of co-ownership, where two individuals share equal interest in the whole property.

    Image courtesy: everydaylife.globalpost.com

  • 2

    Tenants in common

    It is a form of co-ownership of a property where two or more people possess the right to a property with varying proportions.

    Image courtesy: everydaylife.globalpost.com

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