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Property ownership - Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common

Written by Nagisa Takaki

Edited by Catherine Micallef


At the time of settlement of the purchase of a property, a transfer of land form is lodged to Land Use Victoria and ownership of the property then transfers from the vendor to the purchaser.


If two or more people purchase a property, the ownership on the transfer of land can be described in the following ways:


  • Joint Tenants:


The registered proprietors hold the whole property together meaning all registered proprietors have equal ownership and interest in the property.


Commonly, a joint tenancy is used by a married couple, a de facto couple and similar relationships.


If one of the joint tenants passes away, their interest in the property transfers to the surviving joint tenant. It does not become an asset of the deceased estate.


  • Tenants in common:


Each registered proprietor holds a share in the property. It is not necessary for tenants in common to hold the property in equal shares. The share could be 50/50, 30/70, 10/90 or any contribution provided.


Tenants in common is ordinarily used by business partners, friends or siblings etc.


If a tenant in common passes away, their interest in the property becomes an asset of their estate. It can be transferred only to a legal personal representative of the estate upon the granting of probate/a letter of administration.


A title search contains the information held in the Register of Land in Victoria at the time the search is made. It includes the registered owner’s name, address, mortgage details (if any) and details regarding encumbrances affecting the land. The title search also shows which type of co-ownership is registered on the property.


Once a transfer of land is registered, it can be costly to change the manner of ownership. You can expect that there will be lodgement fees and associated charges. In some instances, Stamp Duty will apply, particularly in instances where the proportions of the holding are adjusted. Therefore, it is important to make the correct decision for your personal circumstances.


This article is written to provide general information only. Should you have any questions, please contact our office.

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