What Is Involved in the Joint Ownership of a House?

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  • Written By: Crystal Cook
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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Joint ownership of a house can be an effective way to buy a home, especially if one cannot afford to buy a house on his own. On the plus side, joint ownership of a house can allow a person to own a home when he otherwise might not be able to afford it. This ownership, in turn, can help to build his credit rating for future purchases. Among the drawbacks of joint ownership are the problems that can arise when it comes time to divide the property or one of the joint owners decides not to pay his share.

There are two kinds of joint ownership: joint tenants and tenants in common. The former is the type of joint ownership of a house enjoyed by most married couple. In this kind of ownership, all the co-owners have equal shares of property ownership. One owner cannot sell a share without the permission of the other owners, and shares cannot be left to someone in a will. When one co-owner dies, his share of the property automatically goes to the other owners, avoiding the need for a will or probate court.


The other type of joint ownership, tenants in common, allows owners to specify the percentage of the share each owner receives instead of dividing it equally. This is useful if one owner pays more than another or if an owner wants less property to protect other assets. Each owner in this type of arrangement also can decide what happens to his share of the property when he dies.

While there are many benefits to shared ownership, there also can be serious risks. Legal agreements should always be made to ensure that all owners are treated fairly and shares are divided properly. Aside from legal agreements, joint ownership of a house tends to work best when the co-owners are compatible. This helps to ensure that a co-owner doesn’t discover too late that he’s stuck in an arrangement he finds unbearable and doesn’t end up paying more than his fair share of the costs.

Co-ownership agreements are essential for protecting owners who share joint ownership of a house. These agreements allow co-owners to work out any potential disagreements before the home is actually bought. The agreements often cover who has the right to make an offer first if one of the co-owners wants to sell his share. They also include mediation clauses and address such issues as what will happen if a co-owner misses a payment and who is allowed to live at the property. These agreements should be drawn up by lawyers to ensure that they are fully legal and binding.

For people who do not have enough money or credit to buy a home by themselves, joint ownership is a valuable option. It can help reduce financial burdens on a person by possibly offering a mortgage payment that is lower than previous rent payments. It also means there is more than one person responsible for the various tasks that come with home ownership, including household cleaning and lawn care. Meanwhile, even partial home ownership can help to build a person’s credit rating, improving the chances that he may qualify for solitary home ownership at some point in the future, if he wants.


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Post 2

My husband and I bought a duplex with my-mother-in-law in Illinois.

She has left without notice and will not be paying her share anymore. What can we do? Are we allowed to rent out her side and would she be able to remove a tenant at her will?

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