When buying real estate, it is common to have multiple owners. In New York, if title is held by more than one owner, there are three common ways for title to be held on the same property:
- Tenants in common: each person on title owns an undivided interest in the whole property. Each individual can sell/transfer or encumber their own interest in the property. By default, in New York, whenever more than one person buys property together, it is held as tenants in common (unless married, see “Tenants by the entirety” below). If a tenant in common dies, the decedent’s interest passes to their heirs or according to their will.
- Joint tenants: each person on title owns an undivided interest in the whole property. If one of the joint tenants dies, the decedent’s interest automatically goes to the other joint tenant due to a “right of survivorship,” commonly seen as “JTWROS” on the deed. If one person sells their interest, the joint tenancy ends, and the owners become tenants in common.
- Tenants by the entirety: basically a joint tenancy for married couples. Similar rights as joint tenants, including a right of survivorship; however, there is no right to transfer the property without the consent of both parties.
Our office has a Real Estate Department with knowledgeable and skilled attorneys familiar with the real estate matters you will encounter in the Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Rockland, Westchester, Sullivan, and Putnam Counties. If you have any questions or need assistance with a real estate matter, please reach out to our office to speak with an attorney.