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Ways to Take Title

There are three basic ways that you can take title to a property in Ontario:

  1. Individual Ownership.  When one person takes title, they alone have the right to deal with the property (e.g. mortgage, sell, rent, etc.).  However, if that individual is legally married and the home qualifies as a matrimonial home under the Family Law Act, the spouse’s written consent will be required to sell or mortgage the home.

  2. Joint Tenants.  Two or more people can take title as joint tenants.  Joint tenants hold equal interests in the property.  When an owner passes away, the remaining owner or owners automatically receive the deceased’s interest in the property without paying land transfer tax or estate (probate) fees.  This “right of survivorship” supersedes anything to the contrary that might be in the deceased’s will regarding the property.  Most spouses take title as joint tenants.

  3. Tenants in Common.  Two or more people can take title as tenants in common.  Tenants in common can hold unequal interests in the property (e.g. 30:70, 1:99, etc.), and they can deal freely with their interest without the other owners’ consent (e.g. they can sell or leave in their will their share of the property to someone else).  For this reason, and especially if the owners are contributing different amounts to the purchase or maintenance of the property, tenants in common should consider signing a partnership agreement to specify each party’s obligations and rights regarding costs, ability to deal with your interest in the property, and proceeds from any eventual sale.

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