There are several ways to hold title to real estate. When two or more people hold title to one property together, a form of co-ownership must be selected. "Tenants in common" (TIC) is just one form of co-ownership available. It offers distinct benefits over other options, such as joint tenancy. It is important to carefully consider all available options and to consult with an attorney before making a final decision regarding title, as each form carries different legal and tax obligations.
Equal or Unequal Interests
Tenancy in common allows two or more owners to hold a title to property with unequal or equal interests. For example, one owner may have one-third, one-fourth or one-half interest in the property. In addition, if five people own the property, they may each own one-fifth or some other fraction. It is important to note that it is only the interest in the property, and not the property itself, that is divided in this way.
Unity of Ownership
The tenants in common co-owners have "unity of possession." This means that all owners, despite their unequal or equal interests, are entitled to possess, or enjoy, the whole property and not just a fraction of it.
Transfer of Interest
Co-owners have separate rights to the property and may sell, convey or transfer their own share of the interest as they desire. Such action does not require the consent of the other owners. A co-owner's interest is passed on to heirs upon death, as specified by a will, if any.