Real Time Web Analytics

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Joint tenancy and tenants-in-common

The most widely read post of all time on my blog, which still gets hundreds of hits per month, is a post I made back in January of this year about joint names on title vs. tenants-in-common. I notice that a lot of people read several of my posts on this topic. So, just to save you some search time, I've pulled together all of my major entries on joint ownership below. Click on each title to read the article. If you still have questions, please feel free to post a comment for me below.

Joint or not - that is the question

Answering more questions about joint property

Should I put my home in joint names with my kids?

Don't forget to transfer title to joint property to surviving owner when one passes away

Joint tenants vs. tenants-in-common

What happens when a tenant-in-common dies?

Joint property with parents

The "avoiding probate at all costs" issue

The mythical will that doesn't need probate


  1. my son's father and I bought a house together, lived in the house together for over 6 years, and then we left each other. I know that I was put on as common tenant on the deed, but have not signed anything relinquishing my part of the house to him. do I still own half of the house, and if he passes away, does the house go to me. and can he sell the house without my permission.

    1. If you are a tenant in common, you own one half of the house. He can't sell the house without your permission because he only owns half. He can sell his half, though.

      If he dies, you will still only own half. His half will go into his estate and be dealt with under his will.

      Now, two things to note:
      1. The answer to your question might be different depending on which province you live in, and whether you were legally married or common law. The rules vary across the country.

      2. You should probably check the title to the house to make sure that you are in fact a tenant-in-common and not a joint owner. People are almost always wrong about how their title is held.


  2. A year ago, my father had all my siblings and I sign a hand written amendment to his will, which states basically that on his death, my sister can take over title of his house if she pays each of the 4 siblings 20% of the appraised value of the house, less any money that she has invested in the home for improvements. She, her husband and 2 children have been living with my father, rent free, since my mother died a few years ago.
    My father just advised us that he recently had the will notarized by a lawyer friend of my sisters and that he added her name to the title for his home. I do not know if she is a joint tenant or a tenant in common, but I do know that if she is able to she will take the house and pay us nothing(long story, but she is not a nice or sane person right now). I advised my father that by adding her to the title he has superseded the will that on his death she will automatically own half if not all of the house, without having to pay us anything. He said he checked and that I am wrong, and that she will still have to pay us off the full amount outline in the will. I believe he may have been told that by my sister's lawyer friend and he believes him.

    Please tell me what is correct here and thank you in advance for doing so

    Mike S.

  3. I live in Ontario and I am divorced. My ex and I are tenants in common. He has not lived here since 2001 and now he is threatening to move into the property with his girlfriend. He has not paid taxes, mortgage, insurance etc. My daughter and I operate a legal business on the property. What is his right?

  4. Hello Lynne, my partner and I are common law and are separating. We have a joint house we are trying to sell in a rural area. He has already bought another house and now I want to purchase mine but don't have sufficient down-payment. As we are amicably separating he wants to assist me but want to know how to come off title in a year when I am ready to refinance?Can you please tell me how this can be done with no legal recourse after?

  5. More than 50 years ago a member of our family along with one of his friends bought property in the US as tenants in common. Our family member has a half interest. Both have now passed on. The friend's interest in the property is now split among 3 families. Each of these families have had owners who have also passed on.

    We have been trying to collect the taxes on the property for years, though these owners are not interested in paying. We also have tried with legal assistance to work through whatever legal issues were related to probate etc., though eventually even our lawyers gave up.

    The property is still undeveloped though residences with 50 foot frontages are being built nearby.
    Zoning laws have changed from the time when it was originally purchased.
    Some of the other owners have an eighth of a share in the property which is too small a share to actually build anything.

    The previous comments on these threads about tenants in common appear to suggest that there should be no problem at all in this circumstance. We could simply divide the property and claim our 50% share. The only confusion is whether there would be an argument about whether we should get the west portion or the east portion of the land, though the two parts look almost identical.

    Is it really that simple? Could we simply avoid the problem of non-tax payment by the other owners by simply dividing the land and letting them deal with the tax authorities themselves?


You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails