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Tenancy in Common Questions

Tenancy in common is an agreement in which a property is divided among partners and each partner has the right to transfer the ownership or alienate his/her ownership interest. Unlike joint tenancy, tenancy in common does not have a right to survivorship.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the Lawyers on tenancy in common related issues.

If an individual has a tenancy in common with another person, can he force the sale of the property even if the other owner doesn’t want to?

It’s likely the property can be sold through a partition action. Usually when property is owned by two or more people who do not agree over the management or sale of the property, a court action can be filed by one of them. This action can request the court to order the division or the forced sale of the property.

One partner in a tenancy in common agreement has a larger percentage of the property than the others. But since he hasn’t paid his share of the property taxes, the other partners ended up paying three installments on his behalf. What legal action can the partners take?

There are two options here. One, the partners could sue him for the taxes. Two, they could file for partition of the property, get the court to order the sale of the property, and take the taxes out of the proceeds from the sale. If the tax amount is small, the partners could sue the defaulting partner in small claims, without the help of a lawyer, in the county of his residence. For more information on this, visit: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/smallclaims/

I am part of a tenancy in common agreement and am the only partner who wants to sell. Can I sell my half to a third person who can then force the sale of the property in court?

Yes. In a tenancy in common agreement, each co-tenant can sell his/her share of the property at any time.

What are one of the differences between a joint tenancy and a tenancy in common?

A person can enter into a joint tenancy with anyone. The major difference is that the right of survivorship exists in a joint tenancy, unlike tenants in common. This means that if one owner dies, the other owner automatically inherits the deceased’s share of the property. In contrast, in a tenancy in common, the surviving partner does not automatically inherit the deceased’s share and the share can instead be bequeathed to another person.

In a case where four siblings are in a joint tenancy agreement and one sibling decides to buy out another, does the property deed turn into a tenants in common agreement?

In most cases, when a joint tenant gives up his share in a joint tenancy, the joint tenancy is automatically broken. The remaining owners would then have a tenancy in common without the right to survivorship.

In a tenancy in common agreement, all partners may not hold an equal percentage of interest in the property. Also, there may be a situation in which one of the partners may want to sell the property and the others don’t. That’s why it’s important to know exactly how tenancy in common agreements work.
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