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  • Writer's pictureEvan Sarinas

Understanding Property Ownership: Tenants in Common vs. Joint Tenants in Queensland

When purchasing property in Queensland, it's crucial to understand the different forms of co-ownership, particularly the distinctions between tenants in common and joint tenants. Each type of ownership arrangement has unique implications for rights and responsibilities, as well as for the succession of property after death.

This blog explores these differences, providing essential insights for potential property owners and legal professionals.

Table of Contents


Tenants in Common


Definition and Characteristics:

Tenants in common (TIC) is a form of property co-ownership where each co-owner holds a distinct share of the property, which can be equal or unequal.

These shares are separately transferable and do not have to pass to the other co-owners upon death. This type of ownership is attractive for investors or friends buying property together when they contribute different amounts to the purchase price.



Individual Shares: Each tenant in common owns a specified percentage of the property, which can be sold, transferred, or mortgaged independently.

No Right of Survivorship: Unlike joint tenancy, there is no right of survivorship. If one tenant in common dies, their share of the property does not automatically transfer to the surviving co-owners. Instead, it becomes part of the deceased's estate and is distributed according to their will or the rules of intestacy.

Flexibility: Tenants in common can change their respective interests in the property through further agreements and adjust their ownership percentages if needed.

Joint Tenants


Definition and Characteristics:

Joint tenancy is another form of co-ownership but with a defining feature the right of survivorship. In joint tenancy, co-owners own the property equally regardless of their contribution to the purchase price.

This type of ownership is common among family members or spouses, as it ensures that property passes directly to the surviving co-owners without the need for probate.



Equal Ownership: Each joint tenant holds an equal share of the property. The shares are indivisible and cannot be dealt with independently.

Right of Survivorship: Upon the death of one joint tenant, their interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s), bypassing the deceased’s will or intestacy laws.

Severance of Joint Tenancy: Joint tenancy can be converted into tenancy in common by any joint tenant, a process known as severance. This can occur if one joint tenant sells or transfers their interest to another party, or through certain legal actions.


Choosing the Right Co-Ownership


Factors to Consider:

Future Plans: Your intentions for the property and your relationship with co-owners can influence the best type of ownership. Joint tenancy might be preferable for married couples, while tenants in common may suit business partners or friends.

Estate Planning: How you wish your share of the property to be handled after your death is crucial. Joint tenancy avoids probate but removes control from the owners over who inherits their share.

Financial Contributions: If unequal contributions are made, tenants in common allows owners to reflect this in their shares.


Legal Considerations


Before deciding on the form of ownership, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional who can provide advice based on the specific circumstances and prepare the necessary legal documents to ensure that all aspects of the co-ownership agreement are clearly outlined and legally binding.


Understanding the differences between tenants in common and joint tenants is fundamental for anyone involved in buying property in Queensland. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and the choice depends on the co-owners' specific needs and plans for the property.

By making informed decisions, co-owners can manage their investment wisely and align their property ownership with their broader financial and personal goals.

To ensure a smooth and legally sound property ownership experience tailored to your needs, don't hesitate to reach out to Sarinas Legal today.

Our property lawyers can provide personalised advice and assistance every step of the way. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate the complexities of co-ownership arrangements and ensure your investment is protected.

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