Joint Tenancy Vs Common Tenancy: Which One Is Right For You?

joint tenancy vs. common tenancy

When you decide to purchase a property or invest in one as a landlord, you have many legal forms of ownership. Two popular options are joint tenancy and common tenancy. While both types of tenancy involve shared ownership, there are some significant differences in how they work.

Understanding the differences between joint tenancy and common tenancy can help you make the right choice for your investment. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each type of tenancy, and help you figure out which one is right for you.

Joint Tenancy:

Joint tenancy means that the property is jointly owned by more than one person, and when one owner passes away, ownership passes to the surviving owners automatically, without the need for probate. It’s commonly used by married couples who own property together.

In a joint tenancy, all owners have an equal stake in the property. While joint tenancy provides automatic transfer of ownership, there are some serious drawbacks. For instance, if one of the owners files for bankruptcy or gets into legal trouble, the entire property may be affected.

Common Tenancy:

Common tenancy, on the other hand, means that each owner owns a percentage of the property. For example, if there are three owners, each would own 33.33% of the property. If one owner passes away, the shares pass to their beneficiaries or heirs via probate. This means that there is no automatic transfer of ownership.

Common tenancy is often used by investors who own rental properties together. The main advantage of common tenancy is that each owner has more control over the property and can sell their share whenever they want. The downside is that probate can take a long time and be expensive.

Pros and Cons of Joint Tenancy:

Joint tenancy provides a simple and straightforward way of sharing ownership, ensuring that the property will go directly to the surviving owners in case of the death of one of them. However, it can be complicated if one of the owners files for bankruptcy or is sued, which can potentially jeopardize the entire property. Additionally, joint tenancies work best for married couples or people who trust each other implicitly.

Pros and Cons of Common Tenancy:

Common tenancy allows each owner to own a percentage of the property, which is ideal for investors who are looking to own rental properties together. However, since it doesn’t provide automatic transfer of ownership, it can be costly and time-consuming if one of the owners passes away. Furthermore, since each owner has more control over the property, disagreements can arise regarding decisions on maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.


Choosing between joint tenancy and common tenancy will depend on your specific needs and situation. While joint tenancy may seem simpler and more straightforward, common tenancy offers more flexibility and control. If you’re considering purchasing property with someone else, it’s very important to understand the differences and benefits of each type of tenancy ownership. In the end, it’s always best to speak with a legal professional to determine which type of tenancy is right for you.