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• Co-ownership

In one of my lasts posts, I talked about "Land Ownership in BC", mainly freeholds and leaseholds… but what about Co-ownership of land?? As you may know, all of those types of ownership can be owned by more than one person...this is known as "co-ownership". All types of properties (leasehold, freehold, life estate, etc) can be owned by more than one person… this is called “co-ownership”. There are 2 types of co-ownership: Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common.

Joint Tenancy:

- Each tenant owns an UNDIVIDED property.

- Tenant MAY have separated rights (as single legal owner).

- Right of SURVIVORSHIP. When one tenant dies, the rest of the tenants become owners of that portion as a whole; until there is a sole survivor.

- Tenants can NOT leave their property to anyone in their wills.


In order to create a joint tenancy, these four "Unities" have to happen:

- Unity of TIME - all the joint tenants receive the property at the same time.

- Unity of TITLE - all the joint tenants receive their property from the same document.

- Unity of INTEREST - all the joint tenants acquire the same estate of land (e.g. freehold, leasehold, life estate).

- Unity of POSSESSION - Each joint tenant is entitled to own 100% of the property. There are no separated parts or divisions.


The joint tenancy can be terminated by:

- Severance of the joint tenancy by law (e.g. a tenant sells or mortgages the property, a new tenant is added, etc).

- By mutual agreement. All the tenants decide to terminate the tenancy.

- By an order from the court.

...when the tenancy is destroyed, a common tenancy is created with the title.

Tenancy in Common:

- Each co-owner owns a SEPARATED SHARE of the property, e.g. one tenant may own 60% and other two tenants 40%.

- NO Right of SURVIVORSHIP.

- Tenants MAY leave their property to anyone they wish in their wills. Without notifying the other tenants.

- Each tenant MAY sell or dispose of their property share.


The tenancy in common can be terminated by:

- Mutual agreement to sell one tenant's share to the other.

- An agreement of all the tenants to sell the whole property.

- An order from the court.


Check out the differences and discuss them with your partner, family or friends with whom you would like to buy a property. As sometimes, it's best for you to: sell, or you want to leave it for someone else in your will, etc. There are few aspects that you need to keep in mind for taking this decision.

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