When you buy real estate your name will be registered on title at the Land Titles office. If you are buying as individuals, as opposed to a company or other entity, with another person, or other people all names would be on title usually as Tenants in Common. Couples have a choice of holding the property either as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common. As a tenant in common, you are said to own and have title to a distinct portion of the property. Usually that is 50/50 for a couple, unless otherwise stated, but in fact it can be any percentage, from 1% to 99%. Each party’s circumstances or contribution to the overall purchase price would usually reflect how the percentage would be calculated. The percentage share may also be important when it comes to issues of any taxation burden or benefit.
Most couples hold real estate Jointly, which has the benefit of what is known as ‘survivorship’. That is the title to the property will pass to the survivor in the event of one party dying. This is seen as a way of securing or protecting the interest of your partner in the future, without the need for complicated legal processes. If you are a tenant in common then it will pass in accordance with your Will, following your death.
There is a growing trend away from couples holding as Joint Tenants these days, particularly with relationships not lasting as long as they may have in the past, with multiple relationships common. Consideration as to what will happen in the case of a break up has become even more relevant. If one party has made a larger contribution to the purchase price but for whatever reason the property is recorded as being held jointly while the tenancy can be changed later, if it is to be noted as other that 50/50 one of the problems is that there is likely to be a stamp duty liability.
I am seeing more and more of this situation, so it is something to consider seriously at the time of purchasing, to protect your interests in the future. Call me if you would like to know more.