A tenant in common owns a partial interest in real property. His interest is an undivided share. His co-owners are the other tenants in common. The real property might be a house, an apartment, a vacant lot or undeveloped acreage. Each tenant in common has the right to transfer his undivided interest to another party without the consent of the other owners. A quit claim is one way to transfer that interest.
Tenants in Common
Tenants in common, also known as tenancy in common, is a form of joint ownership of real estate. Unless the deeds designate a certain percentage ownership, each tenant owns an equal share. Ownership is described as an undivided share. That means if five people own 100 acres, each tenant owns 20 percent of the whole but that 20 percent is not divided up. A tenant cannot look at the acreage and specify his 20 acres.
Quit Claim Deed
A quit claim deed is a legal means of transferring an interest in land. The person signing the deed, called the grantor, makes no warranty or guarantee about the property. The only statement from the grantor is a release of his interest, if any, in the land. Anyone can execute a quit claim deed without incurring legal liability. It works well to get a release from one specific person, such as a spouse or heir. It also is suited to tenancy in common conveyances.
Quit claim deed forms are easy to find. An Internet search for any state will produce several results. Besides getting the names and legal description exactly right, the most important part of preparing a quit claim is the insertion of the language about an undivided interest in the land. Most forms assume the grantor is conveying a complete interest. A tenant in common is conveying an undivided interest in that certain parcel of land described herein. The deed has to state that fact.
The transfer of title from one tenant in common to a new owner has no effect on the other tenants in common. The new owner, or grantee under the quit claim deed, takes the place of the grantor. The grantee inherits the same property rights as the grantor. Any liens, encumbrances or title problems transfer to the grantee. The tenancy in common remains intact.
- Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute: Tenancy in Common
- American Bar Association: Understanding Real Property Interests and Deeds
- Sirkin & Associates: Tenancy in Common (TIC) Frequently Asked Questions
- Ohio State Bar Association: Quitclaim Deed Transfers Without Ownership Guarantee