Laws related to Co-Ownership of a joint Property

Laws related to Co-Ownership of a joint Property

Co-ownership means joint ownership which further means when two or more persons hold title to the same property.

Tenants in Common:

  • When two or more people buy a property but do not specifically mention the share that each has in the property.
  • Every co-owner is deemed to be having an equal share in the property.
  • All the co-owners use the entire property.

Tenancy by entirety:

  • When the joint tenants are namely the husband and wife, with each owning one-half.
  • Only some states recognize tenancy by entirety and they may or may not recognize for  same-sex couples.

Joint tenancy: 

  • Property owned by 2 or more persons at the same time in equal shares.
  • Right to ownership for the co-owners who outlive other co-owners of the property.


  • Section 44, Transfer of Property Act 1882.
  • The rights of a transferee in this type of a transaction as well are also dealt in the section.

A co-owner is entitled to three essentials of ownership:

  • Right to use
  • Right to possession
  • Right to dispose of his share of the property if it is clearly stated, in the deed.

If no right of survivorship exists, a co-owner is free to transfer his interest over the property.
When a co-owner sells his own interest, the buyer becomes a new co-owner.
The tenancy in common will continue.
Hence, it is freely transferable. It may in form of:

  • Sale of ownership interest in the property
  • Intestacy
  • Passing property by will, deed, and some other conveyance but not without other co-owners permission.

Further, if right to survivorship exists, 1 co-owner or spouse cannot unilaterally convey/encumber the property without permission or consent of the other.


Tenancy in common has several distinct characteristics like:

  • Each co-owner has right to use and .
  • Each co-tenant owns a certain share of property as their own.
  • Co-owners may hold unequal ownership shares.
  • Each co-owner has right to possess the entire property.
  • Maintenance and other costs are shared in proportion to ownership shares.

Those interested joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety should be aware of the so-called "four unities":

  • Title – tenancy by the entirety must be created by the same instrument
  • Time – the spouses interests must vest at the same time
  • Possession – spouses have equal right to possess and enjoy entire property
  • Interest – spouses must take interest of the same kind, share, and duration

It is also worth point out that a one co-owner cannot do so on their own, a tenancy by the entirety can be terminated in several different ways. Here is a list ways a tenancy by the entirety may be terminated:

  • Divorce or dissolution
  • Death of co-owner spouse
  • Joint creditor attempting collection
  • Mutual agreement of co-owner spouses
  • Conveyance, if both spouses join in and consent

If you are a married couple, co-owning a house it with your spouse is beneficial for both husband and wife. They can get tax benefits.
In case of a joint ownership, the husband as well as the wife individually will be able to claim deductions as per Section 24 of the Income Tax Act.
Deduction available for each individual is 1.5 lakh for principal under section 80C and 2 lakhs for interest component under section 24(B).


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