What does – not tenants in common, but joint tenants – what does that mean?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What does – not tenants in common, but joint tenants – what does that mean?

just trying to find out the answer to the above question

Asked on February 16, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This has to do with how property is held and what rights stem from such designations. The designation is not used for an apartment for rent, but rather property owned. The "tenants in common" label provides for inheritance rights for the heirs/beneficiaries of a deceased tenant in common.

In other words, when such a tenant dies, their interest does not automatically pass to the other owner but instead is transferred to their estate. This is in contrast to when with people take title as joint tenants on a deed. If, for example, 2 people are on the deed as "joint tenants" and 1 of them dies, the other person automatically owns 100% of the property. This is because a joint tenancy automatically gives each person the "right of survivorship" whereby the survivor takes all. If this happens, the remaining owner should still consult with a title specialist to make sure the title is clear should they decide to sell later on. 

In a joint tenancy, one side can generally sell their interest with the right paperwork. Then rent payment and other factors may come into play. If you're doing this, a request for service with a title expert is essential.

For more information you can check online, or consult directly with a local reals estate attorney who can best advise you further having heard all of the details of your situation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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