Friends With Money #22: Who owns the house? Joint tenancy vs tenants in common

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As an individual buyer, outright property ownership is relatively straightforward. The title is in your name, any mortgage is in your name, and it's your asset alone.

But when you buy property with others you have a choice in ownership structure - joint tenancy or tenants in common.

Depending on your personal situation there are pros and cons for each, as well as implications for estate planning and unexpected situations such as divorce.

friends with money podcast owning property

In this episode of the Friends With Money podcast, managing editor Julia Newbould is joined by Peter Bobbin, principal lawyer at Coleman Greig Lawyers, to explain your options when it comes to owning property, and reveal the possible bumps in the road you may not have considered.

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.

Peter Bobbin has more than 30 years' experience as a lawyer and holds degrees in accounting and law from UNSW and a Master's in taxation from UWS. He is a Chartered Tax Advisor and the Australian chair of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. A principal of Coleman Greig Lawyers, Peter is a former accountant and former lecturer in superannuation and state taxes at UWS.
Dzenita Cengic Karup
November 18, 2021 8.58am

I found the podcast very useful and educational, explained in simple language and simple terminology - thank you.

It should be a condition of any property purchase that purchasers go through the education of title options, so that they understand the implications of each option, ie. joint tenants or tenants in common. From my experience, I find that these days property conveyancers do not explain to property purchasers all the options well enough, and that it is up to property purchasers to educate themselves about the title options. Better education will mean improved approaches to wealth and asset management, particularly for more vulnerable groups of people in the community.

November 21, 2021 2.21am

Can joint tenancy between siblings be effective in preventing property ownership partly falling to in-laws on relationship breakups?