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Difference Between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common

Joint Tenants vs Tenants in Common

In the realm of property law, specifically under concurrent estate, two concepts immediately surface: joint tenancy and tenants in common. But before differentiating the two, it is important to know what a concurrent estate is. By its simplest definition, a concurrent estate is described as a property that has more than one owner.

In joint tenancy, with several owners owning a particular estate, all of them have the same legal rights of owning the property. “Tenants in common” is different in the sense that the owners act similarly as shareholders. This means that the shareholder rights are determined by the amount of shareholdings each owner holds. It may also vary a little with respect to the laws set by different jurisdictions worldwide.

The scenario of the successor in case of the death of one of the owners in either arrangement is different. In joint tenancy, the death of one of the owners will automatically hand over his ownership rights to the remaining owner(s). But in tenants in common, these same rights are given to the dead owner’s legal heir(s).

As previously mentioned, the rights to the property differ in both. For joint tenancy, the owners are treated as equal tenants who have an equal say with regard to the decision-making involved in their property. By contrast, the owner in the tenants-in-common arrangement who invested the most resources for the property is considered to have the biggest say in the decision-making process. However, if there are more than two owners, then usually the case would require the majority vote to decide. Nevertheless, other jurisdictions emphasize that the tenants in common retain equal footing in very sensitive or critical cases.

So if you’re asking what the better arrangement is, well it actually depends on your situation. If ever you’re having your spouse as the other owner, then it may be better to engage in joint tenancy. But if ever you involve yourself in a deal with your friends or relatives, then it may be wiser to engage in tenants in common.


1.The owners in a joint tenancy have equal property rights.
2.The owners in a tenants-in-common arrangement have rights relative to the amount of their shareholdings or investment.
3.In case of a death of one of the owners in the joint tenancy, the rights of the dead owner will go to the other tenant while in tenants in common, the rights will go to the dead owner’s legal heir(s).
4.Tenancy in common is ideal for people with financial or purely business relationships while joint tenancy is best for people with a deeper personal relationship.

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