It might seem strange to read someone's property deed or vehicle title that has numerous pages because of the number of people acquiring title. Although uncommon, it is not impossible to have many people purchasing one piece of property. Just as numbers are infinite, so may be the fractional ownership interests in property.
Time Share Condominiums
One example of a large number of people having title to one piece of property is the deeded time-share form of ownership. Even though each individual has a separate deed, each deed is for a specific week in the same piece of vacation property. Were it not for practicality's sake or required procedure, all those names could have been included on one deed, describing the lot or unit and explaining in the deed that each owner received only a specific 1/52 interest, representing each of the 52 weeks in a year.
People may choose to pool their resources and purchase a piece of vacation property together for the enjoyment of a large number of family members or many close friends. Whatever your agreement with the other owners, the deed will contain the names of each person purchasing, reciting the fractional percentage ownership interest which belongs to each of them. Even though many people may own a residence, local ordinances may restrict the number of people who may occupy the residence at any one time.
The owners of lots in an older planned unit development subdivision may decide to unanimously dissolve their property owners' association. The association may hold title to all common areas in the subdivision for the lot owners' use and enjoyment. Upon dissolution, the association in winding up its affairs should deed the common areas to all the lot owners in the fractional percentage interest that matches their ownership interest in the subdivision. For instance, if each owner owns one lot in a 30-lot development and only one deed is prepared, then there would be 30 names on the deed, with each owner acquiring a 1/30 interest.
The process of registering a vehicle title in numerous names may vary from state to state. In New York, for instance, if title is to be taken in multiple owners, Form 83T must be completed listing the names of all owners. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website, however, one owner will be allowed to transfer title to property regardless of the number of owners holding title. In Florida, however, when transfer of title is made to joint owners, all owners must be present to sign the appropriate paperwork. At that time, the purchasers will inform the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles if they wish to hold title using the word "and" or "or." This one little word can make all the difference in who has authority to sell the vehicle. With an "or" in the title, any co-owner may sign to convey the title. If "and" joins the multiple names, then all co-owners must sign to transfer the property.
- "The New York Times": When Friends Buy a House Together
- California Research Bureau: Residential Common Interest Developments, an Overview
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: Statement of Partnership or Joint Ownership
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: Vehicle Registration Requirements
Marie Murdock has been employed in the legal and title insurance industries for over 25 years. Murdock was first published in print in 1979 and has been writing online articles since mid-2010. Her articles have appeared on LegalZoom and various other websites.