Mon-Fri 9:00 - 17:00

[email protected]


Co-Ownership Ontario

Co-Ownership In Ontario: Joint Tenancy Vs Tenants In Common

Real Estate Law

Updated on 

Purchasing a property is one of the most significant decisions a person can make in their lifetime. Regarding co-owning a property, there are two ways to hold title: joint tenancy and tenants in common. Each type of ownership has pros and cons, and it is crucial to understand the differences between them to make an informed decision.

Joint Tenancy

In this type of ownership, joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership in which owners have equal rights to the property. In Ontario, joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship, which means that if one owner dies, the surviving owner automatically owns the property without the need for probate. This might be a significant advantage since it can save time and money on legal fees.

Joint tenancy is common among married or common-law partners since it can be beneficial. If one partner dies, joint tenancy allows for a smooth transfer of ownership, and the surviving spouse/partner would automatically become the sole owner of the property.

However, joint tenancy can also have some drawbacks. Each owner has an equal say in decisions regarding the property, which can lead to disagreements or conflicts. In addition, if one owner decides to get involved in a certain transaction, such as a sale, the other owner(s) must agree to the sale.

Tenants in Common

Tenants in common is another form of co-ownership in which multiple owners hold a specific percentage of the property, which can be unequal and can be dealt with separately. In contrast to joint tenancy, tenants in common do not have the right of survivorship. If one owner dies, their share of the property does not automatically pass to the other owner(s); instead, it passes to their estate and is distributed according to their will or provincial laws.

One of the pros of this type of ownership is that it allows for flexibility. Owners can determine and hold different percentages of the subject property, reflecting their financial contributions or other factors. Additionally, tenants in common can sell their share of the property without the consent of the other owner(s).

On the other hand, tenants in common can also have some drawbacks. Finding a buyer willing to share the title with the remaining owners can be challenging if one owner decides to sell their share. Additionally, if one owner dies without a will, their share of the property will be distributed according to provincial intestacy laws, which may not align with their wishes.

Choosing Between Joint Tenancy and Tenants in Common

Deciding the form of ownership is an essential factor and should be considered alongside the unique circumstances of the property and the owners. It is crucial to consider that each form of ownership can potentially have significant consequences for owners in the future. Thus, it is vital to carefully assess and plan to achieve one’s objectives while minimizing risks.


It’s also important to consult with a lawyer or real estate professional to ensure that the ownership structure reflects the owners’ wishes and is legally valid. By carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages of joint tenancy and tenants in common, owners can make an informed decision that meets their needs.

The information provided above is of a general nature and should not be considered legal advice. Every transaction or circumstance is unique, and obtaining specific legal advice is necessary to address your particular requirements. Therefore, if you have any legal questions, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer.

About the Author

Photo of author