In everyday conversation, the word “tenant” usually refers to someone who is renting a property. In real estate, a “tenant” is an owner of a property. There are four common types of tenancy that you should know about if you’re buying a house:
Sole Owner Tenancy: One person owns a property all by themselves.
Joint Tenant Tenancy: Two or more people own equal shares of a property. Each person’s ownership is protected from liens and judgements against the other owners. When one owner dies, their share of the property is automatically transferred to the other owners.
Tenants in Common Tenancy: Two or more people own shares of a property but they don’t have to be equal shares. When one owner dies, their share is not automatically transferred to the other owners; instead, ownership goes to the person’s estate.
Tenants by the Entirety Tenancy: This type of tenancy is reserved for married couples. Each person’s ownership is protected against liens and judgements against the other person, and ownership automatically transfers to the surviving spouse when one partner dies.