Joint Tenancy – What It Is & How It Works?

  • Posted by: Sahir
  • 30th January, 2023

Joint tenancy is a ‘legal’ term generally used in the context of ownership of a property in real estate.  It is quite common among married couples who prefer having joint ownership of property when purchasing one. However, any set of people can come together to create joint tenancy agreements whether it is family members, friends, or partners. Joint tenancy could be any personal property/ bank and brokerage accounts, etc. however, it is mostly opted for in case of real estate investments.

Let us understand the various aspects of Joint Tenancy.

Joint Tenancy-The Definition

Joint Tenancy is a legal arrangement where two or more people jointly own a property together.  The involved parties may or may not be related in any way. 


Joint tenancy


To create a Joint Tenancy agreement, ‘all co-tenants must acquire equal shares of the property through the same deed at the same time’. Each party in a joint tenancy share equal rights as well as financial obligations.  This means that all co-tenants are equally liable for any mortgage against the property.

What makes Joint Tenancy popular?

Joint Tenancy creates a right of survivorship which means that if one of the owners dies, the survivor or the other party gets the ownership of the property directly. Here any court intervention is not required. For this reason, joint Tenancy is most common among married couples or people related to each other when buying a property. 

You may note that a unilateral termination of the Joint Tenancy may be done by any of the tenants; consent of other(s) is not needed. 

Unlike for tenants in Common Tenancy, a deceased tenant’s share is not passed on to their legal heirs. The surviving co-tenant gets it without any legal issues.

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Joint Tenancy- Rights of Survivorship

Joint Tenancy as joint tenants with right of survivorship. In legal terminology, when a joint tenant passes away, the other tenants(s) assume full ownership of the property. In fact, from the moment of the owner’s death, rights of survivorship and financial obligations are passed on to the surviving tenant(s).

When there is a conflict between joint tenancy rights and the deceased’s will, the rights of survivorship win. In this case, the property’s rights and obligations are immediately passed on to the survivor without any legal hassle. 

Even if there is no impending loan on the property, the surviving tenant(s) must make all other due payments to be able to continue living in that home. If however, the joint property ends up in foreclosure, the surviving tenant(s) need not worry as there won’t be any negative impact on their credit score.


Joint tenancy



  • The responsibilities are equally shared among the tenants. If the property is on rent, they will share the rent equally or if they decide to sell the property, each of them will get half the profits. As for the responsibilities, the tenants will share the financial obligations equally too, whether it is loan payment, property taxes, or property maintenance. 
  • In Joint Tenancy, any tenant is entitled to access all parts of the property without any restriction. 
  • The tenant cannot sell their shares of the property on their own, they need consent from all other tenants. Transfer of one’s shares to another person is possible though. This step would terminate the existing joint tenancy agreement and the new owner would be required to enter into another ownership agreement with the rest of the co-tenant(s). The new arrangement would be referred to as a tenancy in common.
  • In case of strained marital relations, there may be a delay in the sale of assets since both tenants must agree. 
  • Separation: When joint tenants separate, they need to split their shares and agree on how to divide their property. 
  • Exit the Tenancy: Any tenant wishing to exit the arrangement must give a valid notice, and a written document about exiting the partnership. 
  • The last living co-tenant ends up being the sole owner of the joint property. 

Joint tenancy makes property purchase more affordable. However, before taking the plunge you must assess the issues of the process that may arise at a later stage in your life.