By: Angela Brown
Published: 6/06/2017
There are two forms of ownership that can be registered on a Certificate of Title when you are purchasing land.
 
These terms have specific meanings, which is very important in structuring how your property is actually owned.
 
Joint tenants
 
The first type of ownership is joint tenants.  This is a form of ownership where all parties have exactly the same undivided share or interest in the land.  The land will pass automatically to the other owner or owners on the death of one or more of the current owners.
 
Joint tenancy creates a right of survivorship and your interest in the property will not form part of your estate.
 
Owning the property as joint tenants with other people means any transaction or work involving the property requires agreement of all of the owners.
 
This ownership structure is one that is commonly used by a husband and wife who want to own the property equally and pass their share to the survivor upon death.  It is also a way to secure your house, so that your partner is able to stay in the property, should anything happen to you.

If a trust buys a property, the trustees must hold the property as joint tenants.
 
Tenants in common
 
'Tenants in common' is a type of shared ownership of property which allows you to hold separate and distinctive shares in the land, which may be equal or unequal.  The shares can be transferred to other owners during their lifetime and via a Will.
 
When one of the owners dies, that person's share in the land is transferred according to their Will or under the rules of intestacy if they have not made a Will.
 
If you choose this type of ownership, you will need to decide on the share of each party.

This type of ownership can be used where buyers are in a new relationship, business partners, or are buying as friends or with family members so that they can protect their respective ownership shares in the property.
 
Summary
 
The type of ownership is an important decision to make when purchasing land, and needs to be made prior to signing the documentation required for the transfer of land.
 
Please discuss the ownership of the property with your solicitor whenever you buy property, so that the ownership reflects your wishes.
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