Land Law and Equity Problem

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LAND LAW AND EQUITY PROBLEM Co-ownership is where two or more people simultaneously enjoy the responsibilities and rights of owning a property. From first January 1926, there exist two manifestations of Co-ownership specifically joint tenancy and tenancy in common.[1] Joint tenancy exists where four co-owners simultaneously enjoy the responsibilities and rights of owning a property. According to the law, joint tenants are considered as one person who is possessing the entire property.

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This is to say that they have no distinct shares in the property. Therefore, none of them can dispose their individual interest in the property through a will if they pass away. However, they enjoy the right of survivorship which occurs if one of them dies and the surviving tenants assume the interest rights left behind by the deceased.[2] Tenancy in common exists where two or more co-owners each have a distinct share of a property. They can therefore, dispose of their share of the property throughout their lifetime or when they pass away. Furthermore, these distinct shares are only a percentage of the property and not physically separated, rather it is an undivided share. Consequently, they each have a right to possess the entire property since the share is not divided. Nevertheless, none of them can exclude another from a given part of the property.[3]

  1. Advice for their interest in the cottage

First of all, the five are joint tenants since they declared to have held title in trust for themselves. Additionally, legal property is held on trust for each other only in joint tenancy[4]. The five now are joint tenants with only the first four being recognised as the legal co-owners of the cottage[5]. This is only so if the first four joint tenants are of full age and able to become trustees[6]. The reason being that for a valid joint tenancy, there must exist four trustees who hold title to the cottage under a single document. Therefore, in view of the law none of them can dispose of their share of the cottage in a will. This is because of the way joint tenancy is considered to be owned by a single entity not unless the joint tenancy is severed.[7] Uniquely, joint tenancy starts and ends on the same date for all of them. Therefore, in case one of them is deceased, the cottage will lawfully belong to the four surviving tenants through survivor-ship right. This happens as long as the joint tenancy was not severed before the tenant’s death [8]. If the joint tenancy was severed before the death, then the tenant can transfer his/her share through a will or conveyance can be carried out as per the intestacy rules of the state[9].

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