Owning property together: Joint Tenancy vs. Tenants in Common”

Joint tenancy? Or Tenants in Common?

A guide to choosing the correct ‘manner of holding’ for your property


When acquiring property with your partner, family member, or friend in Melbourne, Victoria, you will have to decide whether the property is to be co-owned as either a ‘joint tenancy’ or ‘tenant in common’. This decision is also known as selecting the ‘manner of holding’ on your property. At Conveyancing Excellence, you will make this decision upon filling out the Buying Questionnaire online.


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Joint tenancy

In a joint tenancy, co-owners have equal shares, and if one owner passes away, their share automatically transfers to the surviving owner. 

Suitable for: 

  • Married couples or de facto spouses, where the ownership will transfer to their surviving spouse

Not suitable for:

  • Property owned by friends
  • Blended families, where the surviving spouse may want to pass an inheritance to children from a previous relationship
  • Investors or joint venture agreements

For more information, please visit the Land Victoria Website.

Tenants in Common

With tenants in common, joint ownership shares can be equal or unequal (e.g., 50/50, 70/30, 1/99). Each owner can independently dispose of their share, and shares don’t automatically pass to the remaining owners upon death. Instead, they become part of the deceased person’s estate for distribution according to the will.

Each owner may dispose of his or her share in the property independently and the shares do not automatically pass to the remaining owners in the event of death. Instead, they form part of the deceased person’s estate to be distributed in accordance with the deceased’s Will (or letters of administration where there is no will). 

Suitable for: 

  • Investors, co-owners, siblings, and parents in blended families.

Not suitable for:

  • Married or de facto spouses wishing to provide solely for their children or family after both spouses’ death.

For more information, please visit the Land Victoria Website.


What is a joint tenancy? Joint tenants own equal shares, and the right of survivorship ensures each owner retains the property after a joint tenant’s death.

What is the right of survivorship? It guarantees joint tenants automatically inherit the property share without it being part of the deceased’s estate.

What are tenants in common? Tenants in common own independent shares, similar to owning shares in a company, with no limits on the number of people or entities on the title.

Make an informed decision about property co-ownership in Melbourne, Victoria, with Conveyancing Excellence – your trusted partner in the conveyancing process.

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