Colorado Real Estate Attorney Answers Questions on Tenancy

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Do you have questions and unresolved issues about joint ownership over a piece of land in Colorado?

Respected Colorado real estate attorney, Vinze Winyard Brian has obliged to answer questions on joint tenancy laws in Colorado.

Jake Fergon Nevtun of Colorado Springs BIV Property Magazine.  We have summarized the salient points in question and answer form for easy everyone’s reading.

How is real estate property held if there are two or more owners?

A piece of real estate property in Colorado can be owned by two more individuals.  However, the state requires that they (the owners) must agree on how title to the property will be held.  There are two approaches to this.  First, the owners can hold onto the property as tenants in common. The second option is to hold it as joint tenants.

What are the features of tenancy in common?

Tenancy in common exists when each of the co-tenant holds title to a certain amount of share in the property.  Each tenant is holding onto a separate title that is all his own.  In other words, he has sole ownership over the separate share in the property.  Along with this right to sole ownership, comes the privilege to do anything legal with the property he’s holding onto without seeking the consent of the other co-tenant.  He can sell, mortgage, transfer, or donate his share of the property.  In addition, the number of co-tenants to a property is limitless under a common tenancy.  They can either be individuals, companies, or entities.

What happens in the event of death in one of the co-tenants?

In case a co-tenant passes away, his share in the property is merely passed on to his appointed heirs as indicated in his will.  In the absence of a will, property disposition based on the Colorado real estate law will prevail.

How is joint tenancy different from tenancy in common?

First off, it should be clearly written in the deed of conveyance that the property ceded to grantee constitutes a joint tenancy.  If not expressly stated, Colorado real estate attorneys will consider the ownership type as tenants in common.

One basic difference between tenancy in common and joint tenancy is that the latter prescribes that joint tenants must strictly be individuals.  The law also states that in the case of death of one tenant, his interest in the property is merely transferred in favor of the surviving tenants.

This feature makes it a popular practice among married couples.  Typically both spouses would want the surviving spouse to acquire ownership to the marital property without having to go through a formal probate procedure.

What happens if one of the joint tenants sell or transfer his interest to a third party?

If there are only two joint tenants, the joint tenancy between the two will no longer exist. The new tenant (or third party) and the remaining original tenant will have to hold the property as tenants in common.

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