Joint Tenancy

Joint Tenancy Definition

Joint tenancy means joint ownership of any immovable property between married or non-married couples, or friends, or business associates or relatives with a proportionate share in the agreement as agreed. The agreement binds the parties to the contract that provides appropriate rights, ownership, title, etc. to each holder of the property. Moreover, in case of death of any tenant, everything to said tenant passes on to the legal heir.

Rights of Joint Tenancy

#1 – Ownership

Each person involved in the deed of the agreement has equal ownership & such ownership is undivided. Till the tenancy is continued, each person has his own share of interest in the property. This means no one person indeed will have a share larger than other parties to the contract.

#2 – Vested Interest

The ownership of each tenant will be fixed as long as the periodicity continues. Thus, all tenants will have a legally vested interest in the deed of agreement. However, in case of death of the tenant. The vested interest gets transferred to the legal heirs of the deceased person.

#3 – Survivorship

This ensures the continuation of the agreement of tenancy. In the event of the death of any tenant, he has the right of survivorship by automating the pass-on of tenancy rights to the legal heir. This is called the right of survivorship.

Joint Tenancy

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Joint Tenancy Agreement

The agreement should be in written form with all legal stamps to be placed on it to ensure the validity of the same in the court of law. Further, the agreement should be clear about the title, time, interest & possession of the property.

  • Such an agreement may be made between business partners or friends or even relatives.
  • With equal rights, there come equal responsibilities. This means in case the property has any interest or loan due to any financial banker; each person is equally liable for the same.
  • Agreements should specify the consent of other tenants in case one tenant wants to sell their part to any other person.  However, in such a case, the new tenant needs to have a new agreement of tenancy with existing tenants. Such agreement is commonly referred to as “tenancy in common”.
  • The agreement should contain a provision for the right of survivorship. Such a right ensures easy transfer of rights of the deceased tenant to the legal heir. The legal heir has rights as well as responsibilities for said property.

Joint Tenancy Examples

Lets’ say there are 4 people namely, A, B, C & D. Say; they jointly purchased a property in the year 2019 with equal sharing. Each person has their name included in the deed of agreement & each person lives in the property.

Here all four points of a valid joint tenancy agreement are covered as follows:

  • Time: Each person bought the property at the same time
  • Title: Name of each person appears in the deed
  • Interest: Each individual owns 25% rights
  • Possession: Each individual is residing in the property

Benefits

  • In case of death of a person, joint tenancy avoids such a lengthy process of probate, and the ownership of the assets is transferred immediately to the legal heir.
  • The property can be lent out to earn rental income. The rental income is divided amongst the tenants in equal proportion. The costs associated with such rental income, are first deducted.
  • Consent of all tenants is mandated in case one tenant intends to take a loan on the property.
  • Within the first few years of rental income, the cost of ownership gets recovered.

Disadvantages

  • The joint owners are required to pay taxes for their ownership percentages. They are also liable to pay for repairs and maintenance costs in respect of the property.
  • In the case of non-specification in the agreement, the responsibility to share any loss gets divided between all tenants equally.
  • There may be certain legal repercussions in case the joint tenant becomes bankrupt and the creditors demand the sale of such jointly held property.
  • Marital issues may provide more complications for the sale of assets.
  • There may be unethical or behavioural disputes between the joint tenants, which may affect the agreement.

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