Joint Tenancy vs. Tenancy in Common

Joint Tenancy vs Tenants in Common California

Updated on May 5, 2022

Which is Better Tenants in Common or Joint Tenancy?

The two most common ways to jointly own property with one or more persons in California are joint tenancy and tenancy in common California law. The default method of co-ownership is actually tenancy in common California. In other words, unless the deed specifically states the method of co-ownership, the co-owners will hold title as tenants in common California. Accordingly, it is important to specify the method of co-ownership in the deed, especially if the co-owners do not want to own the property as tenants in common.

A few of the similarities and differences between these two methods of co-ownership are explained below.

Joint Tenancy & Tenants in Common California Law Similarities

● Each owner has an equal right to possess, use, and benefit from the entire property

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● Each owner is responsible for their proportionate share of the expenses of the property, including payments of mortgage, maintenance, property taxes, insurance, etc.

● Each owner is entitled to their proportionate share of income from the property, such as rental income

● Each owner has a right to encumber their separate interest in the property without affecting the co-owner(s) interest(s)

Joint Tenancy & Tenancy in Common California Law Differences

Accordingly, one of the main issues to consider when deciding whether to jointly own property as tenants in common California or joint tenants is how the owner’s interest will transfer upon death.

For example, if a husband and wife or parent and child jointly own property, then holding title as joint tenants is preferable as the decedent’s interest will automatically transfer to the surviving co-owner without the hassle of going through probate or other proceeding. However, if friends or siblings jointly own property, then holding title as tenants in common may be preferable so that each owner can dictate who will receive their interest in the property when they die.

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The Schorr Law’s real estate attorneys in Los Angeles, have a great deal of experience dealing with tenancy disputes, partition actions, and quiet title actions as well. We frequently deal with disputes concerning ownership of real property regardless of whether a party is arguing actual ownership is accurately reflected by record title. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today.

By: Carina Woo, esq.

See related blog posts: What Happens to Property After the Death of Joint Tenants