Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in Common

Property that is owned by more than one person but not owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship or in tenancy by the entireties is often owned in a tenancy in common. This means that each person owns part of the property (such as one half or one third), and upon each person's death, the property goes to his or her heirs or beneficiaries, not to the other owner.

Example: Tom and Marcia bought a house together and lived together for twenty years, but were never married. The deed did not specify joint tenancy. When Tom died, his brother inherited his half of the house, and it had to be sold because Marcia could not afford to buy it from him.