In Ontario (aside from sole ownership) there are four basic ways for two or more individuals to own real estate.  When purchasing real estate, each person involved in the transaction should obtain their own independent legal advice as to potential liabilities for each method of ownership. 

  • Under this type of ownership, each owner owns EQUALLY. Joint Tenancy typically means that, should an owner become deceased, the remaining owner(s) on title will inherit the deceased’s interest in the property. 
  • The surviving joint tenant(s) will typically become the owner(s) of the property no matter what a Will might state.
  • This manner of holding title is the most commonly used by spouses.
  • Under this type of ownership, each owner’s share can be different. For example, John Smith may own 90% interest whereas Jim Brown may own 10%. 
  • Tenancy in Common means that should an owner become deceased, that deceased person’s interest in the real estate will be transferred according to that person’s Will.
  • If the individual who is deceased does not have a Will, their interest will be transferred according to the Law of Ontario (or according to the law where the property is located).
  • This manner of holding title is most commonly used by business partners.
  • A Trust situation should be discussed with a lawyer. Generally, it means that the person who is registered on title in the Land Registry Office is not the true (beneficial) owner of the property.
  • It may appear on a Transfer/Deed as “JOHN SMITH, IN TRUST” or, since “In Trust” is not typically permitted in the Ontario Land Titles System, there will be a separate, signed and unregistered Trust Declaration.
  • This manner of holding title is most often used if the beneficial owner of the property is underage and a Trustee is appointed to hold title until the beneficial owner comes of age.
  • IF more than one person will be shown on title as owner, but only ONE person is providing all (or a substantial portion) of funds, you may wish to consider entering into a special partnership agreement to avoid any future misunderstandings with respect to how operating costs are to be shared, as well as the distribution of proceeds upon refinancing or eventual sale of the property.
  • One of the features of this type of agreement is to return to each purchaser whatever cash was originally contributed by each at the time of completing the transaction, as well as any additional contributions made to improving the property (new roof, kitchen remodel etc).
  • A Partnership Agreement also deals with the situation where one party wishes to sell and the other does not.
  • Each partner should consider obtaining Independent Legal Advice PRIOR to entering into such an agreement
  • Should you wish to enter such an agreement and have it prepared for signing, please inform our office. Our fee for this type of agreement is $100.