Concurrent estate is a legal term that refers to property that is owned by more than one person at a time. When more than one person owns real property, they are known as co-owners, or concurrent owners.

There are three basic types of concurrent estates: joint tenancy, tenancy in common, and tenancy by the entirety.

What is Joint Tenancy?

Joint tenancy is the holding of real property jointly by two or more people. It can only occur if all the parties obtain equal shares of the property with the same deed and acquired at the same time.

When either party dies, the share automatically passes to the other remaining co-owners. It can be broken if one of the co-owners transfers or sells his or her interest, in which case it reverts back to a Tenancy in Common. 

What is Tenancy in Common?

Tenancy in Common is a shared tenancy in which each holder has a separately transferable interest in real property. Tenants in common may have different ownership interests (ex: One party holds 20%, another owns 25%, and a third owns 55%).

This concurrent estate does not allow the right of survivorship. For instance, if A and B are tenants in common, and A dies, A’s shares do not automatically go to B. Instead, A’s share goes to the party selected in A’s will.

What is Tenancy by the Entirety?

Tenancy by the Entirety is the third type of concurrent estate held by a husband and wife. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse immediately and automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.

This is known as the right of survivorship. It’s important to note that not all states recognize tenancy by the entirety.

What Rights Do Concurrent Owners Have?

Concurrent estate holders generally have the following rights:

  • Each owner has an unrestricted right of accessing and using the property;
  • Each owner has the right to accounting of profits made from the property; and
  • Each owner has a right of contributing for the costs of owning the property (such as helping with mortgage payments, upkeep, repairs, etc.).

What Obligations to Concurrent Owners Have?

Concurrent property owners assume several duties. For instance, you are responsible for paying your share of taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance, repairs, and anything else that is required by the state.

What are Common Disputes Among Concurrent Property Owners?

As in any instance where you own property with another person, concurrent estates have their fair share of disputes among property owners. Below are some common disputes:

  • Disputes over ownership and title;
  • Disputes over rent and monthly payments;
  • Disputes connected with profits from the property;
  • Conflicts regarding the individual owner shares- it can sometimes be difficult to calculate the value of a co-owner’s share; and/or
  • Disputes involving the transfer, sale, or distribution of a property interest through inheritance.

Many of these concurrent estate disputes can be avoided if the parties have a clearly written agreement regarding the property.

Should I Contact an Attorney for Concurrent Estate Disputes?

If you are involved in a dispute over a concurrent estate, it is to your advantage to hire a real estate lawyer. This is especially true if you or one of the co-owners needs to file a lawsuit.

A knowledgeable attorney can help represent you in court and can help defend your property interests according to the laws of your state.