Undivided Interest Real Estate Laws

By Trent Jonas
Undivided interests in real estate involve multiple owners of a single parcel.
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Undivided interest means the title to a piece of real estate is held by two or more persons, but that the land itself is not divided among them: the land is a single, undivided parcel. There are three common types of undivided interest in real estate: joint tenancy, tenancy in common and tenancy by the entirety.

Joint Tenancy

Joint tenancy means two or more parties own a property together. Joint tenancy usually includes a right of survivorship, when one owner dies, that owner's rights and interest pass to the surviving owners. Joint tenants usually own the property proportionately, although the interest is not divided. For example, three joint tenants will each own one-third of every square inch of a parcel of land, not just one-third of the land. Rules for this type of ownership vary from state to state.

Tenancy by the Entirety

Available only to married couples, tenancy by the entirety allows a couple to own property as a single legal entity. Like joint tenancy, a right of survivorship is inherent in this type of ownership. The advantage of this tenancy is that only creditors of the couple may attach and sell interest in the property. The property in question cannot be used to pay an individual spouse's debts. However, a spouse may not get rid of his interest in the property without the consent of the other spouse. This is a fundamental difference in this type of ownership.

Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in common is similar to joint tenancy with a couple of important differences. First, this type of ownership does not include a right of survivorship. Also, each owner's portion may be unequal: Owner A owns one-third, Owner B owns one-sixth, and Owner C owns one-half, for example. This type of ownership only requires the owners to have ownership of one property in common.

About the Author

Trent Jonas accepted his first assignment in 1988 from "The Minnesota Daily" and has been writing professionally ever since, primarily as a copywriter. He is an experienced traveler with a background in advertising, entrepreneurship and as an attorney. Jonas has a Bachelor of Arts in English writing from the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor from Hamline University.