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Law of Commerce

Law of Commerce

contrast a tenancy in common with a joint tenancy and indicate how one can be changed to another. why
is the distinction important

Despite both referring to methods of buying and a holding a property on a fractional
basis, there is a clear distinction between a joint tenancy and a tenancy in common since the two
are different legal terms in relationship to property ownership. In joint tenancy, a person may be
holding a fraction of the house; however, his rights of ownership with the property are in their
entirety. According to Sealey and Hooley (2008), the owner in joint tenancy must have equal

ownership to the property due to the element of unity of interest; however, tenancy in common
lacks the unity of interest and each owner can have whatever percentage of the property.
Whereas the owners of the property under joint tenancy must come into the possession of the
property in the same time or at the same closing, the members of the property under tenancy in
common have separate opening and closing dates. If one member of the property dies under joint
tenancy ownership, his portion of the ownership is distributed to the remaining owners under the
principle of last man standing rule (Sealy & Hooley, 2008). On the other hand, the tenancy is
common does not have the rights of survivorship under the principle of last man standing, such
that when one person dies, the property is not distributed to the remaining owners.
One can easily change the ownership from either tenant in common to joint tenants,
especially if one gets married and wants to have an equal right to the property or from joint
tenant to tenants in common, especially when people divorce. The distinction is very important
since these types of ownerships results to different rights and privileges that needs to be
understood by the property owners.


Sealy.L. S & Hooley, R.J. (2008). Commercial Law: Text, Cases, and Materials. Oxford
University Press; 4th edition

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