1. If the whole property is held equally between two parties then they are Joint Proprietors.
  2. When one of the Joint Proprietors dies, their share in the property passes to the other person.
  3. If the property is held in equal divisible shares then they are Tenants in Common in Equal Shares.
  4. If the property is held in different divisible shares then they are Tenants in Common in Unequal Shares.
  5. When one of the Tenants in Common dies, their share in the property is directed according to their will.

Every week we get questions from couples who simply have no idea how they will ‘own’ the property they are planning to purchase.

Most people assume that they are splitting ownership 50-50 and whilst that is usually the case, it is HOW that is represented on the certificate of title that can have a massive impact on your future.

Principal Lawyer and Founder of Your Property Australia, Matthew Woods takes a look at the different types of property ownership.


Joint Proprietors is the most common choice for most couples. With a vision to the future, purchasing a home together is one of the biggest financial decisions that a person can make.

The intention of the parties is that if something was to happen to them (in other words if they die) their partner would become the sole proprietor of the property. 

The best way to think of Joint Proprietors is that you both own the property jointly but your interest isn’t divisible. It isn’t a simple process to sell it off. You both own the whole property together. 

Now wait a second! I’ve only been with my partner for a couple of years and I want my share of the property to go to my family. How can I make that happen?


Obviously not every property transaction involves a couple or a family and there are many situations where it would completely inappropriate to have the other party take full ownership of the property when the other party dies. 

Tenants in common in equal shares is a smart choice for new couples who would like some security surrounding their purchase. Unlike joint proprietors, tenants in common in equal shares is treated by the law as the purchasers having clear, divisible interests. In this case each party owns a 1 of 2 share or 50%. It can be sold and is easily transferred.


Not everyone wants to split the ownership of their property evenly. If you have contributed an equal share of the deposit and will both contribute evenly to the mortgage repayments then an equal share of the property is usually the way to go. 

There may be situations where it is appropriate for the contribution of both parties to the purchase price to be represented in the overall ownership of the property.

Understanding how you own your property with your partner is vitally important for any prospective homeowner. Of course this article is also applicable to family or friends purchasing together. 

Click here to read the Your Property Australia list of questions you should be asking before purchasing with another person.