Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common?

Contract Handshake Old manuscript

By Annalyse Betts and Kerin Cotchett

If you own property with someone else, there are two different ways in which you could own that property:

  1. Tenants in Common; or
  2. Joint Tenants

Each form of ownership has different positives and negatives which may be of use for you when selling property or when you pass away.

Tenants in Common

Tenancies in common are methods of ownership which allow each owner to have different interests in the property. For example, one owner may own 70% of the property and the other 30% may be owned by a different individual.

The owner of a share can sell their share. For example, they may sell 70% of the property and the remaining 30% interest remains with the other owner if they do not sell.

In the event of the death of one owner it is likely that a Grant of Probate would be required to deal with the deceased’s interest in the property according to the person’s Will.

This form of ownership is usually favoured by people who have a ‘business’ relationship.

Joint Tenants

Joint tenancy means each of the owners have an equal interest in the property at the same time. The property can only be sold if both parties join in.

In the event of death, the surviving joint tenant will inherit the deceased joint tenant’s interest in the property and a Notice of Death would need to be lodged with Land Registry Services to remove the deceased’s name from the deed and to show the survivor as the sole owner.  

This form of ownership is usually favoured by people who have an emotional relationship with each other.

For more information, please see Purchasing a House in the ACT , Selling a House in the ACT, Purchasing a House in NSW and Selling a House in NSW .

Elringtons has an experienced Property and Commercial team who will be able to assist you in the sale or purchase of property, dealing with property after someone passes away or other property enquiries.

For further information or to make an appointment in either our Canberra or Queanbeyan office please contact our Property and Commercial team:

p: 02 6206 1300                                                 e:

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