My brother and I want to buy a house. He will bear 40% and I will pay 60%. Should we become joint tenants or tenants in common? The house is for investment, and we will share any profit from its sale or lease.

—Adil

When two or more people own a home, either as a joint tenancy or tenancy in common, each individual owns a share (or interest) of the entire property. This means that specific areas of the house are not owned by any one individual. While joint tenants are similar to tenants in common in many ways, particularly with regard to their right of possession to a given property, there are some differences.

Tenancy in common: While none of the owners may claim a specific area of the property, tenants in common may have different ownership interests. Further, tenancies in common may also be obtained at different times; so an individual may obtain an interest in the property years after one or more individuals have entered into a tenancy in common ownership.

Joint tenancy: Joint tenants, on the other hand, must obtain equal shares of the property with the same deed, at the same time. The terms of either a joint tenancy or tenancy in common are spelled out in the deed, title, or other legally binding property ownership document.

As you and your brother want to purchasing a flat by investing in specific unequal percentage of purchase consideration, i.e 40:60, it may be prudent to opt for tenancy in common, especially because you desire to share the lease rent/licence fees and/or the sale proceeds in the same specific unequal percentage. In tenancy in common, the investors would own undivided fractional interest in the entire property in proportion to their investments and would be entitled to share the sale proceeds/lease rent in proportion to their investments made/ percentage of the purchase consideration so paid by each.

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Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates.

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