Tenancy in Common Explained: How it Works

October 5, 2023    propertysettlementlawyersperthwa
Tenancy in Common Explained: How it Works

Many of the survivorship application lawyers Perth have said that property ownership in Australia has become pretty costly. Since there is an increase in property prices, first-time owners are looking for alternative options for home ownership.

In Australia, the most popular options available are “tenancy in common” and “joint tenancy”. Both of these options contain various monetary and legal terms for all the tenants.

It’s essential to have a good understanding of such things, especially when a tenant leaves the property when they don’t have the power to make any decision or due to death.

Tenancy in Common: A Brief Definition

Based on the law of survivorship, tenancy in common is a property ownership where one or two individuals can co-own a particular property in defined shares. The shares that you own under the tenancy in the common category will be either unequal or equal.

For instance: “When you own around 80% of the property’s shares, the co-owners can own the remaining 20% of it.”
This type of property ownership does not have the right to survivorship, which you will normally find under joint tenancy. When one tenant passes away, the shares of the other tenants in the property will not change.

Besides that, every tenant has the right to sell off the shares or give them away in their will. This type of property ownership is ideal for all the co-owners who provide different amounts to buy the property.

It’s also ideal for investors who purchase property together. Despite all that, all the parties can decide how they wish to dispose of all their shares.

Disputes in Tenancy in Common

The disputes related to “tenancy in common” can be easily handled by the dispute or the property settlement lawyers. They can cover a diverse range of disputes, from breaches of contracts, repairs, and unpaid rent to the termination of tenancy contracts.

As the co-tenant, you can sell all your interests to a different party. This can stop all kinds of complications that normally occur under the joint tenant option. It’s because, in a joint tenant, you will not get to sell your interests individually.

Australia also provides various other services, such as “Tenant Advice and Advocacy Services”.

But in the majority of cases, it will be better to take the help of agencies like NCAT [NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal].

It’s because they can handle disputes when there is a breach in the tenancy contract, severe damage, or termination problem.

Things to Know About the Lease in Tenancy in Common

Whether or not you wish to opt for joint tenants, there are some things that you must check in the lease contract. Some of the things that you should inspect in the agreement are:

  • When you need to pay the rent
  • How often do you have to pay the rent
  • The precise description and location of the premises.

The terms that you should check are the obligations and rights on the maintenance and repair. Besides that, you also have to take a look at whether or not you have the right to make changes in the agreement’s structure.

Lastly, you need to check out whether or not the lease agreement contains any type of unlawful or unfair terms that might cause issues for you.

Property Settlement in Tenancy in Common for Divorce

When it comes to divorce, how exactly the property gets divided will depend heavily on different aspects, which include the type of ownership. The reliable and trusted property settlement lawyers can provide much better guidance on how you can approach this properly.

Compared to joint tenancy, where the property division is pretty straightforward, for tenancy in common, property division hinges on every party’s share.

For example: “If you own 60% of the property and your spouse owns the remaining 40%, it needs to be factored under the property settlement”.

But the whole situation might become pretty complicated, especially when one of the parties has been accused of hiding their assets during the divorce.

What is Joint Tenancy Compared to Tenancy in Common?

By now, you already know what’s tenancy in common. But when it comes to joint tenancy, it’s pretty different. This type of property ownership will provide equal interest to all the tenants who are listed under the property title.

In joint tenancy, survivorship does exist. For instance, “When one of the tenants under joint tenancy passes away, the property gets transferred to the surviving tenant”.

Here, the right of survivorship means that even when the deceased tenant has a will, its property will still get passed down to the surviving tenant. This is something you will not come across in common.

Besides that, it’s also vital to consider how exactly you want to own the property when you wish to conduct the will writing and estate planning work.

Joint tenancy is also pretty common among de facto or married couples because people in these types of relationships get to share the tenure of assets of various properties.

Apart from that, until you properly specify when buying the property, the law will assume that the purchase is a joint tenancy.

Joint Tenancy: When Does it End?

Compared to tenancy in common, severing the joint tenancy contract can be complex. Relying heavily on all the circumstances, you might need the help of a reliable lawyer. Here are some of the examples on joint tenancy and when it comes to an end:

  • When all the tenants sell up the property
  • When one of the tenants transfers all their property’s share to the other tenant
  • When co-owners cannot come to a proper agreement, they decide to pursue partition or sale.

When you get into the joint tenancy contract along with the right to survivorship, you must find someone whom you can trust. The person you should have the best wishes in their mind and should become a part of the joint tenancy.


Tenancy in common is a well-known option for property ownership in Australia. Compared to joint tenancy, you will not have the survivorship option. This means when a tenant passes away, his/her will get distributed among all the other tenants.

To learn more about these types of agreements, you should speak to the joint property ownership Lawyers. They have the knowledge and understanding of such matters and will provide you with the assistance you need.

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