What is the Difference Between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common?

If you’re about to purchase a property with another person, it’s important that you decide which kind of ownership is right for you.

Whether you’re buying a property, inheriting it or you’re going to become a trustee of a property, you need to arrange the type of ownership that’s going to take place. Here we will explain the differences between being joint tenants and being tenants in common.

What does joint tenants mean?

There are three key points to take note of when considering joint tenancy. Joint tenants:

  • Have equal rights to the entire property
  • Ownership is transferred automatically to the other if you die
  • You can’t pass ownership in your will

Joint tenancy entitles each owner to a 100% stake in the value of the property. This means that all actions relating to owning the house must be taken as if all owners are one single owner.

All owners must give their consent to sell the property. If one of the owners dies, the ownership transfers to the other owner in what is known as ‘right of survivorship’. Joint tenancy is often the ownership of choice for partners and married couples.

What does tenants in common mean?

If you are tenants in common:

  • You can own different shares of the property, this can be in percentages or in figures
  • If you die, the other owners does not automatically get ownership, as the share will pass according to the deceased owner’s will
  • Ownership can be passed on in your will

Tenancy in common is often chosen by friends or relatives who are entering into property ownership together.

If you are part of a tenancy in common and you are thinking about writing a will, then it’s important to know that you can choose the beneficiaries of your property share. Under the rules of a joint tenancy, though, this is not the case; the other owners will receive your share of ownership regardless of what is written in your will.

Changing a joint ownership

In England and Wales

If you own a property jointly as a joint tenancy and wish to change this to tenants in common Dodds Solicitors can help you with this. Should you wish to discuss any of the above please call us on 0116 262 8596.