Dealing With Joint Tenancy In Florida Real Estate Transactions
There are several different ways to own property in Florida, and it is very common for more than one person to have a share in a piece of real property. That said, having multiple owners can lead to complications in the event of a real estate sale. If you are interested in purchasing a piece of property that is jointly held, it is crucial that you understand the categories of joint tenancy before trying to proceed with a transaction.
Three Main Types Of Joint Tenancy
The most common type of joint tenancy in Florida is to be tenants in common. By default, any property with more than one owner is a tenancy in common, unless a different type of joint tenancy is enumerated clearly in the deed. (The exception to this is married couples.) Each tenant can sell or otherwise convey their half of the property with impunity, regardless of the feelings of the other owner, but they cannot force a sale of the entire property.
If two people are joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS), this is similar to a tenancy in common. Two people may own undivided half-interests in the property, but if the deed language specifically contains the words “with rights of survivorship,” this means that upon the passing of one of the owners, their half of the property will default to the other owner, making them the sole undivided owner. This does not mean that the land cannot be sold – rather, one owner can convey their half of the land by deed to a third party, which will end the ‘survivorship’ part of the joint tenancy.
Married co-owners, by comparison, are known as tenants by the entirety (TBEs). A tenancy by the entirety happens when the owners are described as a “married couple” (or ‘husband and wife,’ or ‘spouse and spouse,’ or any other appropriate language) on the deed and other relevant documents. It is important to keep in mind that TBE is not recognized in many other U.S. states, but Florida law allows any couple to claim the status as long as the property is located in Florida.
Pay Attention To The Details
If you have your eye on a piece of property that is owned by joint tenants, you may have an uphill battle. In general, you will have to convince both tenants to sell, and then in some cases, file the appropriate paperwork ensuring that you have possession of both halves of the property – for example, ensuring that the right of survivorship does not survive your taking possession of the land. Consulting an attorney as you navigate this transaction may help to smooth out the process.
Contact A Tampa Real Estate Attorney
Florida’s real estate market is constantly moving, and if you have your eye on a property that is owned by more than one person, you may need to move quickly. Tampa real estate lawyer Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office have handled these types of cases before, and are ready to try and assist you with yours. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.