Joint property ownership allows two parties to simultaneously own property, this legal arrangement is known as a concurrent estate. The Connecticut Code establishes two forms of joint property ownership: joint tenancy and tenancy in common. Connecticut law also establishes specialized laws for common ownership in a condominium situation.
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Connecticut Code Section 47-14a recognizes the concurrent estate of joint tenancy. In joint tenancy, two or more owners own the property at the same time, each holding a legal right known as the right of survivorship. When one joint tenant dies, the right of survivorship stipulates that the deceased tenant's share does not pass to his heirs or designees. Rather, that share is reabsorbed into the whole of the property owned by the remaining joint tenants. Connecticut, unlike many states that recognize joint tenancy, allows joint tenants to hold in unequal shares; for instance, one joint tenant may hold one-half of the property, while two other joint tenants each hold one-quarter.
Tenancy in Common
Tenancy in common also allows multiple owners to own the property. Like joint tenancy in Connecticut, tenancy in common allows for ownership in unequal shares. However, tenancy in common has no right of survivorship. When a tenant in common dies, his share of the property "breaks off" from the rest of the tenancy property, to be taken by his heirs or beneficiaries. Connecticut Code Section 47-36a stipulates that unless language in the instrument creating the co-ownership clearly establishes a right of survivorship, the ownership will be presumed to be a tenancy in common. Thus, tenancy in common is the default form of co-ownership, unless explicit language states otherwise.
Other Ownership Forms
Many states have a special form of joint tenancy known as "tenancy by the entirety," which exists only between spouses. But the Connecticut Code does not recognize tenancy by the entirety; the law will treat a joint tenancy between spouses the same as any other form of joint tenancy. Connecticut's Common Interest Ownership Act also creates specific rules for certain specialized forms of tenancy in common: condominium communities, cooperatives, and planned communities.
Under Connecticut Code Section 47-14b, if all joint tenants get together and agree to transfer some portion of the property, the joint tenancy is broken and the remaining tenants hold their portions as tenants in common. However, Connecticut Code Section 52-495 also allows for partition, a legal process whereby, upon the complaint of any person interested, a court can order the division of jointly owned property. The law also allows a court to appoint a committee to carry out the business of partition.