A title determines the ownership of the real estate. It’s a literal document that lists the legal owner or owners of a piece of property. A title can be bought and sold between individuals and corporations, but it can also be given or willed to another party. When setting up income property investments, it’s important to be clear about who goes on the house title and in what capacity!
What Happens When Two Or More People Invest In A Property?
When a lawyer prepares to transfer the title of an income property, they will ask the investor who will actually own the property. The investor may choose to list one name alone, but if there is more than one investor, they can list several names to reflect the ownership agreement. Two or more people can be listed on a title as either Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common:
- “Joint Tenants” is an ownership structure where the property is shared equally among the people listed on the title. If one of the owners dies, the property will belong to the surviving Joint Tenant or Tenants. Only the last surviving joint tenant can leave the property to someone in his or her Will. Because of this, married or common-law couples should list themselves as Joint Tenants.
“Tenants in Common” means that the property can be divided by unequal percentage shares if that’s what the owner decides. A Tenant in Common can leave their share of the property to whomever they wish as it doesn’t automatically belong to the other tenant or tenants in common. This is often the case when people are purchasing a property as an investment, and where the individuals are not related to each other. The percentages must be clearly decided upon before investments are made!
Transferring House Title Ownership
Transferring title ownership can be important in investment property ownership. You have a few options:
- Transfer a Single Land Title: This application is filed when the ownership is held by one owner or one Joint Tenant relationship.
- Transfer Multiple Land Titles: This application is filed when a Tenants in Common ownership structure is involved in a transfer of ownership or whenever multiple titles are involved in the transfer application. It can also be used to change the structure from one owner to many or vice versa.
- Transfer a Title When an Owner Dies: Transferring a house title after the death of a property owner can take two forms:
- 1) A Transfer to Surviving Joint Tenant is filed when a title is held jointly and the other Joint Tenant is still alive.
- 2) A Transmission on Death is filed upon the death of an owner when the title has to be transferred to a Personal Representative or Executor of the Will.
While you’ll require a lawyer to change a title, Matthew Scott can give you the best advice on what partnerships to claim, who to list on titles, and how you can prevent being the victim of title fraud.