Buying a property with another person, whether they are a friend or spouse: How should we “take title?”

Shared Ownership of a property can happen in two ways, the distinction is incredibly important to reflecting each party’s interest and wishes for ownership of the property. The two ways are: Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common.

What is the difference? Well, it is great that you have asked. For example, while it may be awkward for your lawyer to ask, if you are buying the property together with your romantic partner, lawyers must ask – so… is this thing going anywhere? In a situation where you and your romantic partner take possession and title without defining your part of ownership each of you could be entitled to full ownership in the event of the death of the other. Joint tenancy with survivorship results in an automatic transmission of the title holder’s interest passing to the surviving person on title. Tenancy in common can allow for a divided interest to properly reflect ownership of the property.

By way of example, if you purchase a property and your relative or friend helps co-sign your loan to purchase the property but you have come up with the full down payment and will be making all mortgage payments, you may want your share of ownership to reflect this. As such, in this situation perhaps it would be wise for you to hold 98/100 interest in the property and your co-borrower to hold 2/100. It is important for lawyers to go over the ways to take title with clients and important for clients to note their specific arrangements.

While buying a property with a romantic partner or friend is an exciting time, it is also an important moment to ask who is contributing to what and how should this be reflected in terms of ownership interests in the property.  

When your lawyer asks, “how would you like to take title” please be sure to ask any and all questions to ensure that ownership of your property reflect your wishes and arrangements.


Brendan Mahatoo is an associate at Levene Tadman Golub Law Corporation. He completed his Juris Doctor (J.D.), Law at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Law. He practices primarily in the areas of Real Estate (Residential and Commercial), Wills & Estates, and Business Law. He is most passionate about real estate, having dreamed of being a real estate lawyer since the age of five. Brendan’s client-focused approach has led to a growing and exciting law practice where his clients are served by the highest and most cost-effective services available. Originally from Kenora, Ontario, Brendan has always maintained a small-town community approach.

Brendan frequently presents on various topics relating to real estate law and is an avid volunteer in his neighborhood.