Joint Tenancy Vs Tenants-In-Common — GOCO Solutions

The process of co-ownership in real estate can be complicated. When it comes to multiple owners who don’t have previous relationships, there can be perceived difficulties when it comes to the legal arrangement of the living situation. In general, the two legal arrangements that are often chosen in real estate are tenants-in-common and joint tenancy. In this article we will discuss these two arrangements and explain why tenants-in-common should be your choice for a co-ownership arrangement.

Tenants-in-common allows for owners to have varying shares in the property. For example, two owners could each have a 30% share while a third owner can have a 40% share. Under tenants-in-common, there are no rights of survivorship. This means that if one of the owners dies, their interest in the property belongs to the estate. In other words, the owner gets to decide how their interest is inherited or distributed.

Under joint tenancy, the ownership percentage is unspecified on the deed of the land. This means that all owners have an equal right to the property regardless of their individual contributions. Joint tenants have the right to survivorship which means that if one of the owners dies, the surviving owner(s) will inherit the deceased’s interest in the property. This supersedes the deceased’s will. The ownership is distributed equally among the surviving tenants since joint tenancy will always have equal shares of ownership.

Why You Should Choose Tenants-In-Common

At first glance it may seem like joint tenancy is the preferred option for a co-ownership purchase but GoCo argues that tenants-in-common should be the first choice. Firstly, the option to divide your ownership stakes in varying amounts is better than being restricted by automatic equal shares. It allows owners a clear sense of what the percentage of the property they control.

When it comes to tenants-in-common arrangements, it is imperative that everyone’s Last Wills and Testaments clearly state what will happen to their share of the property in the event of their death. This can be tricky as the co-ownership group must be careful and make sure their Wills are clear, unambiguous and in agreement with the co-ownership legal agreement. However, with proper legal advice, this arrangement can be more secure than joint tenancy. Tenants-in-common can facilitate an easier exit from a co-ownership strategy if they wish to sell their share in the property.

GoCo believes that tenants-in-common is a far better legal arrangement in a co-ownership situation than joint tenants. It gives more flexibility to the arrangement while still maintaining security for each member of the party. GoCo allows recommends speaking with an experienced lawyer who is well-versed in co-ownership arrangements.

Originally published at https://www.gocosolutions.com on October 28, 2020.

Lesli Gaynor is a real estate agent specializing in co-housing.