It’s more common these days in Singapore for single friends to buy private property together under the Joint Tenancy or Tenancy-in-Common scheme. But what are the differences between the two?
1. Shares make all the difference
If you and another person / other people purchase a property together without clearly determining how big each person’s share is, the arrangement is known as a joint tenancy. If, however, you each have a specific share (this can be equal or unequal), the arrangement is known as tenancy-in-common.
2. Regardless of dollars and cents
Under a joint tenancy, each co-owner has the rights of a single owner, as well as an equal interest in the property. This is regardless of how much he paid for the property. Any legal decision made
regarding the property also must be made jointly.
3. Making the distinction
Under tenancy-in-common, each co-owner holds a distinct and separate share in the property. This may be equal (50-50), or unequal. Nonetheless, each of them also has the rights of a single owner and the right to live in the property, regardless of the size of his share. At the same time, each owner is entitled to dispose his share to a third party while he is alive, or leave his share to a third party in a will.
4. Till death do us part
In the event of a co-owner’s death under a joint tenancy, the right of survivorship applies. This means his interest in the property is automatically transferred to the surviving co-owner(s). However, the same does not apply for tenancy-in-common. Upon the death of a co-owner, his share in the property will either be distributed according to his will, or, if he did not leave a will, his share will be handled according to Singapore law.
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