What is the difference between Tenants in common and joint tenants?

Many people often ask what the difference is between owning a property as joint tenants or tenants in common.

Joint Tenants
In simple terms, where two or more parties own as joint tenants, when one of the joint tenants die, the deceased’s share is inherited by the survivor.  When the property is sold, the surviving seller only needs to produce an original death certificate for the deceased joint owner.

Tenants in common
On the other hand, where two or more parties own as tenants in common, when one them dies, the surviving owner does not automatically inherit the deceased’s share.  Instead you would need to check the deceased’s will to see whom will inherit the property.  If there is not will, the rules of intestacy will apply


If the surviving tenant in common wishes to sell the property, a second trustee will need to be appointed.

There may be various reasons for owning as tenants in common rather than joint tenants, such reasons include (for example) where the buyers wish to own a property in specific shares.  In those circumstances a declaration of trust may be required.

When in doubt, always discuss the ownership of property with alawyer and you will find no greater experienced or approachable lawyers than at Howell Jones.