A tenancy in common is a shared ownership of property between two or more persons. Each tenant holds an undivided interest in the property and there is no right of survivorship. So the undivided interest of one tenant can be passed on to his heirs.
A partition is the forced division of land among parties who were formerly co-owners. A partition suit may ask to divide the land or if that is not practical, sell the land and divide the proceeds.
A tenant in common has an undivided interest in his share of the property. Therefore, if another tenant does not wish for the division of the property to occur a court would still probably order a forced sale of the property. The property would be divided according to the contribution of each tenant in common to the property.
Tenants frequently run into problems in division of property because of ambiguity. Tenants should:
- Be clear that both potential tenants intend to be held as tenants in common
- Hire an attorney to put these negotiations in writing so that it avoids confusion
- Keep records of property purchased together in case division becomes necessary
The partition of property can be a very difficult experience. An experienced property attorney can help you understand what rights you have as a tenant in common. A real property lawyer can also help you determine how to divide the property.