Do you know the difference between owning property as “joint tenants” versus as “tenants in common”?

Cassady Law LLP associate Brandon Hastings provides insight into that subject in his recent article for the Canadian Bar Association. If you are wondering what the difference is, or you could use a refresher, take a look here.

A sample of the article:

Under our Torrens system, there are two predominant forms of ownership: tenancy in common and joint tenancy. Tenancy in common provides, essentially, that the parties own the property in the proportion listed on title. Simple. Joint tenancy, on the other hand, is an odd beast. It provides for a rather peculiar, non-capitalistic, and non-individualistic notion that both parties own all of the property.

Most lawyers probably remember the “four unities” rule of joint tenancy from law school (time, title, interest, and possession). Without going into detail, in theory this rule attracts two obvious problems, especially where the joint tenants are family members: (1) the joint tenancy can be severed unilaterally at any time by any joint tenant(s) and without the knowledge of the other joint tenant(s) (resulting in a tenancy in common), which (2) would then put the “common law” ownership of the property at odds with what is described by the land registry.