The Difference Between Joint Tenants and Tenancy In Commons

If you are thinking about purchasing a home with another person, there may be some legal terms that can cause confusion. It is important to be able to understand terms such as “joint tenants” and “tenants in common” as each have different characteristics and will affect you as a home buyer in different ways.

Potential home buyers are faced with many important decisions when they purchase a property. One of the more crucial decisions is how the title of the property is held if the home was bought with one or more other people. This is when you make the decision to either hold the title of the property as joint tenants or tenants in common.

The different effects of each decision usually arise after the death of one of the owners of the property but may also influence the amount of property transfer tax which new homeowners must pay.

What Is The Difference Between Joint Tenants and Tenancy In Commons

The main difference between joint tenants and tenancy in common is that joint tenants have the benefit from the right of survivorship. This right of survivorship guarantees that when one property owner dies, the property then passes to the other surviving owner or owners without having to pass through the court process of probate. Probate requires a court to distribute the deceased owner’s property, which can be costly and can be a long process. This reasoning of avoiding probate is why joint tenancy is a popular option for married couples, however, some married couples may choose to own a property as tenants in common in order to claim a greater First-Time Buyer’s credit.

Alternatively, tenants in common can decide the shares of the property that each person owns. This differs from joint tenants who each own an equal share in the property, as in 50/50. On top of this, each tenant in common has the ability to pass their share of the property to another person if they mention that person in their will, create a real estate transfer, or even sell their shares on. I one of the tenants in common dies, their share of the property would then pass in line with their will or the rules governing property who die before having the chance to write a will. The property would have to go through the previously mentioned probate and be subject to probate fees.

Need Help Determining which Is Right For You?

There are benefits and drawbacks to each form of property ownership and an educated real estate lawyer can help you make the right decision.

If you would like help deciding whether joint tenancy or tenants in common is right for you, contact us at

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