Joint Tenants vs Tenants In Common: Difference and Comparison

Some people like to own the property wholly in their name, but some enter into partnerships. The Concepts of Joint tenants and tenants in common are mentioned under Co-tenancy of property law.

Both the terms come under Co-tenancy of property law, which here allows individuals to own property in partnership.

Key Takeaways

  1. Joint tenants hold equal ownership and possess the right of survivorship, whereas tenants in common can have unequal shares with no right of survivorship.
  2. Joint tenants’ ownership interests cannot be passed down through a will, while tenants in common can bequeath their shares to their heirs.
  3. Joint tenancy requires the four unities of possession, interest, title, and time, while tenants in common only need the unity of possession.

Joint Tenants vs Tenants In Common

Joint tenants have equal property ownership and the right of survivorship, meaning that if one tenant dies, their portion automatically falls to the other. Tenants in common can have unequal ownership, and there is no right of survivorship, which means that if one of the tenants dies, their portion can be passed on to their heirs.

Joint Tenants vs Tenants In Common

When a property is owned by more than one partner with an equal share, then those partners are called joint tenants. That is, all partners are entitled to a fifty-fifty share in the property.

For joint tenants in a property, partners must ensure certain unities conditions. These are four in number. The right Of survivorship is secured.

Tenants in common/TIC are the partners for distinct shares in the property. Though by default, these partners own equal shares, the Interests of all the partners may be different in size.

When a person wants to break from TIC, They have to go through the partition of the property.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonJoint TenantsTenants In Common
MeaningJoint Tenants are the owners with equal shares in the property.Tenants In common are the owners with distinct interests or shares in the same property.
Right of SurvivorshipJoint Tenants has the Right Of Survivorship.Tenants In Common don’t have this Right.
Required conditionsThere are four required Unities for being Joint Tenants.No special conditions are required other than the owner’s will to be Tenants In Common.
Owner’s withdrawal Withdrawal of any owner from the agreement, Breaks the whole agreement.Withdrawal of any owner from the agreement does not break the whole agreement.
Death of an OwnerThe death of an owner does not pass the ownership to their heirs.The death of an owner can pass the ownership to their heir through a will.

What is Joint Tenants?

Joint Tenants are a type of co-owners of the property under the concurrent estate. In this, owners enjoy an equal share of the property. The right of survivorship to joint tenants ensures transferring a dead owner’s ownership rights to other living owners.

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For example, if X, Y and Z are three owners in a joint tenancy, and somehow X dies, then ownership of X will be automatically transferred to and divided equally between Y and Z, who are alive.

So here, there is no requirement for indulging in court affairs for shifting of the deceased partner’s ownership rights.

Joint tenants require four conditions of unities: Time, Title, Interests and Possessions. The absence of anyone can disrupt joint tenancy. While they enjoy a fifty-fifty sharing of the property, They also carry fifty-fifty liability of the property.

That means all owners are equally liable to pay for taxes, debts and maintenance.

Generally, when a married couple acquires joint tenancy in the property, and unfortunately, they end up divorcing each other, they may complicate the Joint tenancy too.

As in this, joint tenants are not permitted to back off the agreement without ruining it.

What is Tenants In Common?

Tenants In Common are a type of co-owners of the property under the concurrent estate. In this, Owners acquire distinct interests and shares in the property.

Due to the absence of the Right Of Survivorship to Tenants In Common, the Requirement for probate court is very necessary when some owner dies.

For example, If X, Y and Z are Tenants in Common, and somehow X dies with a will stating A to be given his share in future, Court affairs are needed to make the entry of A as Tenant in Common for the property.

Here A will be entitled to the same amount of share which X enjoyed before his death.

Also, an owner, if wants, can withdraw his interests within the tenancy in common by getting the partition of the property being done legally.

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This gives rise to one of the biggest disadvantages of tenants in common: If owners cannot agree upon terms of partition on their own, Then the court can order for the sale of the property.

As Tenants in common hold one property, the tax and bills come on the single property and are not different for different interest holders. So it’s the Liability of all the owners together.

Main Differences Between Joint Tenants and Tenants In Common

  1. Though both are a type of co-owners in a property, Joint tenants are ones with more bondage than Tenants in common.
  2. Under Joint tenants, ownership of the deceased owner is transferred to living owners, whereas in another case, the heir of the deceased owner can get the ownership.
  3. The risk of uncertainty of agreement is more in Tenancy in common than in another one as Owners can withdraw from Tenancy in common through the partition, but It is not possible in Joint tenancy.
  4. The role of probate courts are very less in Joint Tenants but in Tenants, in common, it’s one of the main roles.
  5. In joint tenancy, there is no importance for the owner’s will after death. As joint tenancy of the deceased dissolves after death for him, But in Tenants in common, its the base for further agreements.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Joint Tenants vs Tenants In Common: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article is thought-provoking and comprehensive. I have learned a lot about joint tenants and tenants in the common. Very well done!

  2. The article provides a comprehensive understanding of co-tenancy and is very informative. Well-written and organized

  3. Great explanation of the differences and similarities between joint tenants and tenants in common. I think you did a very good job!

  4. Based on the information presented, joint tenantship seems to be the better option because of the simpler legal processes involved. I’m not sure I agree with that, what do you think, Summer Hunt?

  5. I think you have overlooked the complexities in the case of joint tenants. The initiation of court affairs in the case of withdrawal and divorce can be quite challenging.

  6. An eye-opening article about the complexities involved in property law and co-tenancy. However, it seems that joint tenants have less flexibility than tenants in common. It’s quite a complicated matter!


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