Differences between Tenancy in Entirety and Tenancy in Common

Property ownership can be defined in several ways depending on the terms and conditions under which the property is acquired or divided.

Sometimes individuals can come together as friends to own property jointly, this type of property ownership is called tenancy in common. A married couple can also decide to own property as a couple which is known as tenancy in entirety.

There are two main types of property ownership discussed in this article are;

1. Tenancy in common

2. Tenancy in entirety

Tenancy in common involves ownership of property by more than one person. In this type of ownership an individual owns an undivided interest in the property. This type of property ownership can involve more that two people who have equal shares of the property.

Tenancy by entirety is a joint ownership of property by a husband and wife as a single legal entity. This type of ownerships is only applicable to married couples.

The following are some of the differences between the tenancy in entirety and tenancy in common.

1. Individuals in the tenancy in common do not have a right of survivor-ship whereas in the tenancy by entirety they have this right.  This means that in the tenancy of common if one member dies their shares are inherited by a heir (s).

This means that in the tenancy entirety the property will be transferred to the living spouse in the event of the death of one of the spouses.

2. Under the tenancy in entirety you can not convert it into a tenancy in common by the action of of only one individual. Whereas the tenancy in common can be converted into a tenancy in entirety if the two individuals decide to get married.

3. The property under the tenancy in entirety can not be divided unlike the tenancy in common whereby the property can be divided. This means that one of the members can sell their share in the property without getting consent from the rest of the members. The tenancy entirety does not permit the sale of shares of the property without the consent of a spouse.

The tenancy in common permits an individual to sell their interests without any challenges whereas with the tenancy in entirety the property ownership is legally recognized as a single entity, which makes it much harder for a spouse to sell off their interest since it is strictly for married couples.