Buying property together: joint tenants or tenants in common?

If you buy real estate with your partner or others, you should specify your choice of joint ownership in the Contract. Co-owners may be joint tenants or tenants in common. It’s important to understand the difference so you can make the right choice.

Joint tenants

If you own property as joint tenants, then on the death of one owner, that owner’s share in the property will pass automatically to the surviving joint tenant(s). Married or de facto couples often choose joint tenants, to simplify ownership succession on the death of one spouse. Landgate requires the surviving owner to lodge an Application by Survivor to amend the certificate of title.

Tenants in common

If you own property as tenants in common, then on the death of one owner, that owner’s share in the property will form part of their estate and be disposed of in accordance with their Will (or the laws of intestacy if there is no Will). Landgate will permit a transfer of the property in accordance with the terms of a Will provided the applicant has obtained a Grant of Probate of the Will and completes an Application by Personal Representative, also known as a Transmission Application.

Equal or unequal shares

Joint tenants always own equal shares in the property with their co-owner(s).  If you want unequal shares you must choose tenants in common.

Need help?

We recommend you obtain legal advice before you sign a real estate contract.  As your independent settlement lawyerscontact us to book a consultation.

We offer fixed prices for Application by Survivor and Application by Personal Representative.


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