What is a Tenants in Common (TIC) Agreement?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A tenants in common (TIC) agreement is used to establish the rights of people unrelated by marriage who own property together. When unmarried people purchase property, they are considered as tenants in common. A few exceptions to this exist. One can own property with a parent, and may have the property classed in several different ways than as a tenants in common ownership.

People are considered as tenants in common if they are unmarried and purchase property together.
People are considered as tenants in common if they are unmarried and purchase property together.

Usually, when two or more people own a property together, they need to establish a TIC agreement to fully list the rights of each tenant. It is important to realize that tenancy does not in this case mean physically occupying the property. One could have a TIC agreement with several people who share in the revenues of renting a property. Conversely, one of the owners might occupy the property, while another lives elsewhere.

The problems of joint ownership can become complex and can be greatly eased by TIC agreements. The first importance is stating percentage of ownership. Without such a statement, all owners are considered as equal sharers in the property. Often, someone will purchase a larger share of the property, and that ownership of a larger percentage needs to be declared in writing.

Other key features of a TIC agreement include agreed upon buy-out prices, when a buy-out can be refused and what rights inheritors may have to property if an original owner dies. Usually, inheritors have exactly the same rights to the property as the original owner, but TIC agreements may specify greater ability to buy out the property owned by inheritors if the original owner is deceased.

TIC agreements can also specify what actions may take place on a commonly owned property. For example, one of the owners may wish to add to or modify the property. In these cases the TIC agreement usually states whether this is an acceptable use of the property and what financial obligations this might incur to all owners.

If a tenant chooses to improve the property and undertakes all expenses, he or she may be eligible for a greater share of ownership in the property. This, however, depends upon the original TIC agreement established. Alternately, if a tenant willfully causes damage to property, the TIC agreement may cause the tenant to loose ownership rights.

TIC agreements usually need to be written with the help of a lawyer specializing in property or real estate. Since TIC laws vary from state to state and in different countries, anyone making a TIC agreement should be aware of the state laws, which supersede agreements in many cases. If a provision in the TIC agreement is in conflict with a law regarding TICs, then the law often wins. So before signing, one must be certain that every part of the TIC conforms to the laws in one’s state or country.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I would like for my daughter to have all rights to my home when I die. What is the best way to add her name to my deed?


I married a farmer last year who has several quarters of land. He has some of this property in tic with his son of a previous marriage and also his daughter. If he dies, would I, as his wife, have any place to call home? We are both seniors.


Have purchased a home in NC with Tenants in Common. We have been together for three years but never married, and are now breaking up. Home is paid for. How do you split the selling price?


I brought a property with my ex partner over seven years ago and with a tenancy in common agreement. I have been separated from my ex partner and the property is on the market at the moment. When the property sells, what happens with the equity from the sale of the property?


An ex companion and I signed onto a home loan agreement together. We are both on the deed as TIC. Within 11 months of the purchase, he decided to move out. He has not paid the mortgage since February. He did not contribute to the down payment. We do not have a written TIC agreement. Can he be removed from the deed for abandonment of the loan (default)?


with regard to ticws, i own a home (deed and all) with someone else who i am not getting along with. the house is located and pennsylvania. the mortgage is in his name, and i pay the utilities. i plan on moving out and moving on with my life, but do not wish to give up ownership as it is a ticws agreement. if i leave, are there any loopholes that will allow him to take me to court to gain control (which is a major issue for him) of the house and have me removed from the deed?? i do not believe he can do anything, but i just imagine laws for partners is different than actual married couples. thank you.


Held a property as tenants in common. The other

party has passed away. It was a business investment

for us. We have sold the property and the proceeds

are being held by the court for disbursement.

There was no outside agreement/partnership papers,

just the deed to the property.

Are there any laws, precedent cases regarding disbursement. Is there any information/articles

showing tenants in common as a common use for

business/investment properties?

Illinois user


I am looking for an appropriate entity that would allow groups of investors to jointly purchase REO SFR properties, which in combination would be valued at approximately $25,000,000.00 and above. The investor group would be less than 100 investors. The properties would be held by the group for a short period of time and then re-sold in smaller groups. These properties are in California and Nevada.

Thank you.


A little over a year ago, my daughter and boyfriend (not married) purchased a house together...without a TIC...just their love :( They have now separated and in a dispute as to "what to do with the house." They financed the house with no down payment (using a second) and now with the housing crunch, they are upside down in the loan....owing more than the current market value. Now, the ex-boyfriend wants them to keep the house and continue making payments with neither of them living in the house and renting it (there is no way to obtain a positive cash flow from this idea). My daughter wants to sell the house, take the losses and get "the heck out of Dodge". They are not agreeing AT ALL. How can this be resolved? Thank you very much for your input.


We have a property in palm beach county florida that is held in tic. One spouse died 2 years ago leaving all ownership to the surviving spouse. Just recently the survivor passed as well. Who is recognized as the owner since we need to establish that to determine the distribution upon liquadation of the property. (No will was left by either)

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