Types of Co-Ownership in California (Tenants in Common, Joint Tenants, Etc.)

//

Co-Ownership of Real Property in California

“Co-tenancy” is an umbrella term used to describe ownership by several co-owners with undivided interests in the real property. There are four distinct types of co-tenancies (or co-ownerships) recognized by statute in California in which several people can own the same property.[1]California Civil Code 682

Tenancy in Common

A tenancy in common is a form of co-ownership in which an interest is “owned by several persons, not in joint ownership or partnership.”[2]California Civil Code 685 A tenancy in common is considered the default by courts, rather than joint tenancy. Tenants in common are permitted to own varying shares of the property, but all co-owners have an equal right to enjoy the entire property. When a co-owner dies, his or her interest may be transferred through probate or other proceeding as the right of survivorship does not apply to a tenancy in common. Additionally, tenants in common may transfer their interest at any time without severing the tenancy in common or even affecting the ownership interests of the other co-owners.

Joint Tenancy

A joint tenancy is a type of co-ownership in which an interest is “owned by two or more persons in equal shares.”[3]California Civil Code 683 A joint tenancy is created at one time under a single instrument of transfer giving each joint tenant an equal share of the property. All parties enjoy equal rights to use and enjoy the entire property, not just a part. Joint tenants also enjoy a “right of survivorship,” meaning that if one party dies, their rights of ownership pass to the surviving co-owner(s). This can help avoid the expensive and time-consuming probate process even without a will in place. Joint owners can also transfer their interest in the property. However, this severs the joint tenancy and automatically converts the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common.

Tenancy in Partnership

“A partnership interest is one owned by several persons, in partnership, for partnership purposes.”[4]California Civil Code 684 In other words, a tenancy in partnership is a type of co-ownership in which title to property is held in the name of the partnership. This means that the partnership, rather than an individual, owns the property. Partners have undivided interests in the property, but cannot transfer these interests to a party outside of the partnership. Indeed, a “partner is not a coowner of partnership property and has no interest in partnership property that can be transferred, either voluntarily or involuntarily.”[5]California Corporation Code 16501

Community Property

Community property is a type of property that is only available to married couples. Both assets and debts that are acquired during the course of a marriage belong to both spouses equally as community property. “For the purpose of division of property on dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form, including property held in tenancy in common, joint tenancy, or tenancy by the entirety, or as community property, is presumed to be community property.”[6]California Family Code 2581

Ending Co-Ownership Disputes

Disputes can arise at any time that may leave co-owners dissatisfied with their current co-ownership arrangement. Individuals who have a tenancy in common or a joint tenancy may choose to forcefully end their co-ownership relationship through a partition action. Note that a partition is not available in “an action between spouses or putative spouses for partition of their community or quasi-community property or their quasi-marital interest in property….”[7]California Code of Civil Procedure 872.210

Contact an Experienced Partition Attorney in California

If you want to end your co-ownership relationship, but your co-owner won’t agree, a partition action is your only option. Our experienced partition lawyers have years of experience ending co-ownership disputes and can help you unlock the equity in your property. For a free, 15 minute consultation with an experienced partition attorney at Talkov Law, call (844) 482-5568 or fill out a contact form online.

  • Civil Code § 683.2(c) – Joint Tenancy Severance After Death is Limited by California LawCivil Code § 683.2(c) – Joint Tenancy Severance After Death is Limited by California Law
    By definition, a joint tenancy is an interest in property in which each party has an equal share in the property. Joint tenants also enjoy the privilege of the right of survivorship, which allows a deceased joint tenant’s interest in…
  • The Ultimate Glossary of Partition Action TermsThe Ultimate Glossary of Partition Action Terms
    A partition action is the only court-ordered process to separate joint owners’ respective interests in California real estate. This process can be long, tedious, and difficult, but the attorneys at Talkov Law are here to help. They have provided this…
  • Co-Owner’s Rights to Lease and Evict TenantsCo-Owner’s Rights to Lease and Evict Tenants
    A common issue with co-ownership is how to manage rented property. Notably, many times only one of the co-owners allows a third party to lease the co-owned property without the consent or over the objection of the other co-owners. As…
  • What is an Ouster?What is an Ouster?
    Co-ownership of property can raise many questions about the rights of each owner to the common property. Conversely, that co-ownership relationship can sour, causing one co-owner to seek the benefits of sole ownership- the right to exclude others- without the…
  • How to Win a Partition ActionHow to Win a Partition Action
    The Tricks to Winning a Partition Action in California A partition action is the only court process in California to end disputes when parties are co-owners (also known as co-tenants) of real property. Indeed, the court must divide the real…
  • Absolute Right to Partition in CaliforniaAbsolute Right to Partition in California
    One of the most common questions raised by co-owners of real property in California is how to force the sale of the property when the co-owners do not agree. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 872.210 allows a co-owner to…
  • If I Leave the Property, Do I Forfeit Co-Ownership Rights?If I Leave the Property, Do I Forfeit Co-Ownership Rights?
    As partition attorneys, property co-owners frequently ask if ownership rights can be forfeited by a co-owner moving out of (“abandoning”) the property. More specifically, co-owners want to know if they would give up their ownership rights to a co-owned property…
  • Reimbursement for Improvements in Partition ActionsReimbursement for Improvements in Partition Actions
    Compensation for Improvements When Ending Co-Ownership of Real Property California law allows for compensation for improvements made by one co-owner in partition actions. However, the circumstances in which an offset will be awarded vary with courts also creating varying rulings…

References

References
1 California Civil Code 682
2 California Civil Code 685
3 California Civil Code 683
4 California Civil Code 684
5 California Corporation Code 16501
6 California Family Code 2581
7 California Code of Civil Procedure 872.210
About Talkov Law

The attorneys at Talkov Law practice real estate law, family law, business law, bankruptcy law, and trust & probate law. Our experienced lawyers specialize in assisting all parties involved in these civil disputes by providing the best legal representation.

Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Super Lawyers
US News and World Report Scott Talkov
Scott Talkov Three Best Rated 2021

Recent Blog Posts