Termination of Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common

Posted on: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

In situations where one of the owners involved with a joint tenancy or tenancy in common relationship would like to sell their share of the property, and the other owners do not, there are different options available to the individual to terminate their interest in the property. When title is held as tenancy in common, any owner involved is entitled to deal with their interest or share in the property in whatever way they choose, without permission of the other owners. However, it is often difficult for one of the multiple owners to sell the portion they own separately, as there are not many buyers who are looking to purchase a partial interest in a home.

With both joint tenancy and tenancy in common, one solution is to sell their portion to one or more of the other owners. However, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement about how the property should be divided, the tenancy may be terminated by filing a ‘partition action’, which can force the sale of a property.

Pursuant to the Partition Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.4 an application may be made to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by anyone who has an interest in a property and wishes to bring an action for partition. The action would request that the court force the sale of the property and divide the net proceeds of the sale between each party, which is referred to as a partition by sale.

As a real estate agent, if you are assisting multiple parties to purchase a property you would be doing your clients a favour if you suggest they consider the terms of an exiting agreement at the time of purchase. There are many examples of public court cases between family members and friends when one party wishes to sell and the co-owners do not. The moral of the story is to ensure that a written agreement is prepared at the time of the purchase that contains provisions pertaining to what should happen if issues surrounding the sale of the property were to arise in the future.

A full article on this topic can be accessed in our September Newsletter by clicking here.

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The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. The information does not constitute legal advice and a solicitor and client relationship is not created.

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