It is rightly said unity is diversity; when more than one person thinks and gives an opinion on a particular plan, it will undoubtedly result in a perfect choice in action. Due to the skyrocketing price of property in the present day, it is difficult for a prudent man to purchase a property he desires and wishes. Joint ownership of property might be a correct choice for such a situation.
Joint ownership of property makes the finances easier for the persons as it gets divided as per their needs. It makes everything from decision-making to purchasing to building a home together easy.
The problem gets solved when a team takes ownership of its issues and responsibility. It is true on the battlefield, in business, and in life too, when it comes to property ownership.
What is joint ownership of property?
Co-owners or joint owners are all the owners of a property. When two or more people own a property, it is called joint ownership.
Jointly owned property is legally in the name or title of more than one person. Co-owned property is any property held in the name of two or more parties, like husband and wife, or business partners, friends, or family members.
Joint ownership of property can include an individual or a group of individuals. Their percentage of ownership, tax bearing capacity, revenue from operations, and liability are all decided by way of an agreement made and agreed upon by all. As soon as all members consent by agreeing and signing the agreement, they jointly own the property or become joint owners of the property.
Co-ownership can be an advantageous arrangement because it allows risk-sharing and the clubbing together of costs between parties. Any co-owner may transfer his/her personal interest in such property to another co-owner or even a stranger.
Generally speaking, a co-owner has the right to possession, use, and even dispose of the property.
Types of joint ownership of property or co-ownership
There are mainly four types of joint ownership of property.
- Joint tenancy
- Tenancy with entirety
- Tenancy in common
This type of joint ownership of property operates on the concept of unity. It, therefore, means that the title deed of the property is equally shared in a property by the co-owners. This concept of joint tenancy works upon the law of survivorship, which means that the surviving owner gets the property upon the co-owner’s death.
The key factors affecting joint tenancy are-
- Unity of title
- Unity of time
- Unity of interest
- Unity of possession
An example explaining joint tenancy:
A, B, C, and D bought a property in 2022—Unity of time.
The property gets registered as joint property under their names, making them co-owners —Unity of title.
Each owner holds a 25% share in this property—Unity of interest.
All four owners live in that property/house—Unity of possession.
In joint tenancy, the surviving joint owner would receive the deceased member’s portion rather than the deceased joint owner’s legal heirs.
Advantages of joint tenancy
- The law of survivorship applies.
- Neither party in the joint property needs to be married or related.
- The co-owners share the responsibility for the property.
- The financial burden relating to the property belongs to all joint owners, not just an individual.
Tenancy with entirety
This joint property ownership operates through marriage, where the co-owners are married. Tenancy with entirety is an adaptation of joint tenancy through a general perspective.
Tenancy with entirety stands the same until and unless the co-owners mutually agree to change or file for a divorce proceeding. The co-owners cannot transfer their share of the property to a third party until they both agree.
Tenancy with entirety is affected by the following factors; they include the models of unity (Unity of title, Unity of time, Unity of interest, Unity of possession) and the law of survivorship but between the spouses only and no third party.
An example explaining tenancy with entirety:
A couple, X and Y, purchased a property in 2022, registered in their combined names, and have lived on the property ever since. If either passes away, the surviving party will receive the deceased party’s portion of the property rather than the late co-owner’s legal heirs.
Advantages of tenancy with entirety:
The benefit of this approach is that no legal action is necessary when one spouse dies. A will is not required, and there is no need for probate or other legal action.
Tenancy in common
In this type of joint ownership of property, one model of unity is the unity of title. It, therefore, means that in common tenancy, the other models of unity, namely unity of time, unity of interest, and unity of possession, may not exist. It also does not follow the law of survivorship, so the co-owners can transfer their interest in the property anytime they desire to.
The joint ownership agreement does not incorporate a key feature —kind of agreement it is, it would be regarded as tenancy in common.
An example explaining tenancy in common
Three friends, P, Q, and R, bought a house together in 2022. Since P paid half the money, his share in the house is 50%, while the other two friends, Q and R, hold 25% each. Since P travels to other cities, only Q and R currently reside on the property. Upon P’s demise, P plans to give his share in the property to his sister’s son, S.
This type of joint property ownership should follow religion-specific laws to have validity.
Advantages of tenancy in common:
- Tenancy in common permits one owner to utilise the wealth generated by their share of the property as security for loans
- Only the portion of the property owned by one owner is subject to liens from that owner’s creditors.
- Purchases are made easier.
Coparcenary- joint ownership of property under Hindu law
In 1956, an act was established to explain the joint ownership of property in a HUF (Hindu Undivided Family)called, the Hindu Succession Act. This act gave unborn children of the family the right to be coparceners. After his birth, the child automatically becomes a shareholder in the joint family property.
This concept does not operate according to the law of survivorship. A coparcener’s undivided share in the property passes on to his legal heirs and not among the other coparceners at the time of his demise.
In a coparcener type of joint ownership of property, a coparcener of the joint property can sell his share in the joint family property anytime he wishes after attaining the age of majority.
An example explaining coparcenary
A and B’s son C was born posthumously. Although C was born three months after the death of B, he would inherit B’s undivided share in his ancestral property as it gets governed under the HUF laws.
Law relating to joint ownership of property
Joint ownership of property is entirely a technical aspect to understand. So different laws have made it simpler to understand.
Section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882
Section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 deals with transfer by one co-owner and is a significant law governing joint property ownership.
Per Section 44, the joint owners of immovable property are equally liable for the property shares. The transferee has the obligatory right to give effect to a transfer provided that he acquires a share in the property.
In cases where the transferee is not a member of a HUF and has no share in the dwelling-house, nothing subject to Section 44 of The Transfer of Property Act applies to such situations.
This section, therefore, explains that every co-owner has an exclusive right over the whole property, and the consent of all owners is essential for the property sale. Co-owners have exclusive rights to select areas of the property under the terms of the agreement; they are free to sell their share of the property to anybody they like.
Rights of joint owners of property
Co-owners of the property mainly have three rights of ownership.
- Right to possession
- Right to use
- Right to dispose of the share of the property, as stated in the deed
Why is joint ownership of property better?
Especially in the case of a married couple, co-ownership of property is better as both the spouses can jointly and individually claim benefits under section 24 of the Income Tax Act.
Risks of jointly owned property
Every decision in life has its own risk. Without risks, there is no gain. Usually, people like to get names added to the list of co-owners after investing is made, and years have passed since. They often tend to have their work done without supervision, without a person of knowledge on that particular issue. It leads to fraud, misappropriation, and thieving, thereby leading to a risky situation.
An alternative to co-ownership is safekeeping and trust. A living trust is created while you are still alive and is revocable.
You are in charge and can add and subtract assets at any time. The trustee, typically your spouse or any other tenant in common, distributes the assets to the beneficiaries after your passing.
Selling co-owned property
All co-owners have the right to dispose of the property/ share in the property owned by them in joint ownership of property. But the consent of all co-owners is essential or as per the agreement made beforehand.
Giving a gist of the whole article, co-owned property and jointly owned are the same thing. Joint ownership of property exclusively works on the models of unity and the law of survivorship.
Both tenancy-in-common and joint tenancy with the right of survivorship include survivorship rights. Survivorship continues in ownership types where it is possible until the last surviving owner fully owns the property. The title gets transferred to the owner’s heirs upon the death of the last remaining owner. In addition, section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act deals with joint property ownership.
Joint property ownership is an excellent way of owning or investing in a property when struggling to purchase a property solely.
Choosing the correct type of ownership for jointly owned property can make things easier if one owner passes away. Commonly, joint tenancy aids in avoiding probate, a drawn-out, expensive, and public process of dividing the deceased’s estate in court.
Are joint ownership and co-ownership of property the same?
Yes, joint ownership and co-ownership of property are the same.
Which law governs joint ownership of property?
Section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 deals with joint property ownership.
Can there be two owners of the property?
Yes, there can be two or more two owners of a property.
What happens to joint property when one dies?
When a co-owner passes away, his interest in the property does not pass to the other co-owners but to the person specified in the dead co-owners will.