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Real property

tenancy in common

Tenancy in common is the ownership of real property by two or more co-owners (tenants in common) who may have equal or unequal ownership interests in the property (unlike joint tenants who must own equal shares).

Tenants in common (TIC) can transfer (bequeath or devise) their ownership interests to anyone upon their death, as there is no right of survivorship among tenants in common (there is a right of survivorship among joint tenants).

Unless the transfer or conveyance documents clearly establish that parties own a piece of real property as joint tenants, the default nature of ownership of real property by multiple parties is as tenants in common.

Laws vary from state to state and in many states the law regarding ownership of real property as tenants in common or as joint tenants is located in the state’s statutes—although it may also be located in a state’s court opinions (common law or case law).

In Texas, tenancy in common is a form of co-ownership where two or more individuals own a piece of real property together, with each having a distinct share that can be unequal. These shares can be freely transferred to others upon the owner's death, as there is no right of survivorship inherent in tenancy in common, unlike with joint tenancy where co-owners must have equal shares and the right of survivorship is present. If the deed or other conveyance documents do not explicitly state that the co-owners take the property as joint tenants, the default assumption under Texas law is that they hold the property as tenants in common. This means that each tenant in common has the ability to devise their interest in the property to their heirs or as stipulated in their will. The specifics of tenancy in common in Texas are governed by state statutes, which can be supplemented by case law as interpreted by Texas courts.

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