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What’s the difference between joint tenancy and tenancy in common?

Two of the most common types of property ownership are joint tenancy and tenants in common.

While both joint tenancy and tenants in common give each party ownership rights and a share of the property, the main point of difference between these two kinds of tenancy is that there are different rules that apply if one of the tenants dies.

Joint tenancy vs tenants in common

Where parties own a property as joint tenants, all parties, noted on title, have an equal ownership and interest in the property. The most common example of this is where a property (usually the family home) is owned jointly by a married couple or couples in long-term relationships. These types of relationships usually involve couples who share all types of property like cars and other assets. It’s just part of their shared life and in this situation, joint tenancy comes with the right of survivorship. 

We are often asked what happens when one of the tenants on the title dies and the answer is quite simple: the interest of the deceased joint tenant automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant or tenants and does not form part of the estate of the deceased.

Tenants in common on the other hand refers to ownership where parties do not automatically have a right of survivorship – like siblings who own property and live together. While they are the co-owners of the property, their shares and interest over the property do not automatically have the right of survivorship and the property that forms part of the deceased estate doesn’t automatically pass on to any co-owner of the property.
Tenants in common are co-owners of the property, however their shares and interest over the property do not have to be equal and depend entirely on the agreed shares of the parties involved.

Types of ownership when it comes to property

There are pros and cons to different kinds of property ownership which is why when it comes to property law and conveyancing you can see why the difference between joint tenants and tenants in common is an important distinction. 

Purchasing property is a big deal and purchasing property with another person is an even bigger decision. That’s why it’s important that you understand the division of ownership of that property which can have significant legal and financial implications for you.

At Settle Easy, our specialist e conveyancing team can help you navigate different property ownership scenarios for you and answer all your questions about these two types of property ownership and how they impact your property sale or purchase including:

  • How to buy property with multiple owners – including explaining what’s involved in joint tenancy severance
  • Outlining the pros and cons of tenants in common and joint tenancy
  • Clarifying how the transfer severing joint tenancy via PEXA works
  • Describing how changing from joint tenants to tenants in common can happen.

We can also answer any questions you may have that affect all property settlements including:

  • How many business days are usually involved in a cooling off period?
  • What key dates and conditions are needed in your Contract?
  • How can I terminate the Contract of Sale?
  • What’s the difference between transfer duty and stamp duty?
  • What do I need to know about signing the contract?
  • Will I have to pay stamp duty or can I get an exemption/concession?
  • Do I need a real estate agent to sell my property?
  • What is the conveyancing process in Victoria, NSW and Queensland?
  • Do I need to know about the ‘aliquot’ portion? What does this mean?

For more information on property ownership, or if you need assistance with conveyancing in Victoria, conveyancing in NSW or would like to learn more about the conveyancing process in QLD, our expert team of Australian-based property lawyers and licensed conveyancers are ready to assist you today on 1800 88 66 88.

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