Tenancy in common is a type of shared ownership of property, where each owner owns a share of the property. Unlike in a joint tenancy, these shares can be of unequal size, and can be freely transfered to other owners both during life and via a will. Even if owners own unequal shares, however, all owners have the right to occupy and use all of the property. If A and B own a house as tenants in common, there is no problem if A owns 1/3 of the house and B owns 2/3, and no problem if A decides to sell his share to C.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A way two or more people can own property together, in unequal shares. Each has an undivided interest in the property, an equal right to use the property, and the right to leave his or her interest upon death to chosen beneficiaries instead of to the other owners (as is required with joint tenancy). In some states, two people are presumed to own property as tenants in common unless they've agreed otherwise in writing.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:25 pm