What’s the Difference Between Tenancy in Common and Joint Tenancy?

Ever wonder what the general difference between Tenancy in Common and Joint Tenancy are? When you purchase a home you “hold title” on that property. Here are two ways you can hold title. For specific information regarding this, contact an attorney.

Tenancy in Common:

Parties: Any number of persons or entities (can be husband and wife)

Ownership:  Ownership can be divided into any number of interests, equal or unequal

Title: Each co-owner has separate legal title to their undivided interest

Conveyance:  Each co-owner’s interest may be separately conveyed

Purchasers’ Status:  Purchasers become tenants in common with the co-owners

Death: Upon a co-owner’s death, their interest passes by will or if no will, state intestacy to their devisees or heirs.  No survivorship right.

Successors’ Status: Devisees or heirs become tenants in common

Creditors’ Rights: A co-owner’s interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditors.  Creditors become tenants in common

Presumption:  Grant to multiple parties creates a tenancy in common presumption.



Parties:  Any number of persons, not entities (Can be husband and wife)

Ownership: Owner interest must be equal

Title: There is only one title to the whole property

Conveyance: Conveyance by one co-owner without the others breaks the join tenancy as to the party who conveyed.

Purchasers’ Status: Purchasers from one co-owner will become a tenant in common

Death: On co-owner’s death their interest automatically transfers to the surviving joint tenant(s), outside of any probate proceeding

Successors’ Status: Last survivor (s) owns property in whole

Creditors’ Rights:  A co-owner’s interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditors.  Joint Tenancy is broken.  Creditors becomes a tenant in common.

Presumption: Must be expressly stated, unless a married couple.  If married, presumed to be joint tenancy.


Other ways to hold title:

Sole Ownership and  In Trust