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Tenants in Common (TIC)

Tenants in Common is a way of sharing ownership of property among two or more people. Each tenant holds an undivided interest in the property, and each tenant may own a different size portion of the property. Tenants in common ownership may be established in many different ways: through a will, deed, or other document of title. Today Tenants in Common (TIC) ownership has become a popular way for people to complete 1031 tax deferred exchanges when they hold title as an individual or other entity and would like to participate in a partnership or partnership style structure. Other people are using Tenant in Common structures to purchase multi-family real estate that may be suitable for a condominium (condo) conversion after a certain seasoning period.

There are other benefits to owning property as Tenants in Common as well. For people looking to diversify, TIC structures allow you to invest in larger properties, different types of investment property and different geographic markets. Perhaps you are looking to move up to institutional grade or single tenant properties with triple net lease arrangements. You may also benefit from fixed-rate, non-recourse financing with institutional terms for tenants in common owners. This type of financing with 5-10 year terms is usually not available to small, single investors. Many, perhaps most, tenants in common arrangements are created through inheritance whereby the decedent's will leaves property to intended heirs with or without specifying the size of interest that each is to receive. One of the most attractive features of a TIC structure is that acquiring an interest in investment property as tenants in common does not preclude you from buying investment property on your own in a subsequent 1031 tax deferred exchange. Returning to sole ownership is always an option should your investment preferences change.

Is the Tenant in Common Structure Flexible?

A tenants in common ownership interest can be purchased, sold, gifted, bequeathed by will, or inherited, and is subject to property taxes, gift tax, estate and inheritance taxes in the same manner as any property held in fee simple (single) ownership. Upon the death of a tenant in common, his or her interest in the property passes through inheritance as directed in the will or other estate planning documentation and does not divide among the other owners as there is no right of survivorship an important difference from joint tenancy ownership.

Tenant's rights

Each tenant has unrestricted rights of access to the property subject to the equivalent rights of the other tenants. Each tenant in common can petition for and secure a division of the property at any time. The partition usually will result in the petitioner being granted exclusive ownership of a portion of the property the court views as equivalent to his or her previous undivided interest. Or, the judge may order that the property be sold and the net proceeds divided among the tenants in the same proportion as their respective ownership interests.

Neda Dabestani-Ryba is a licensed Realtor in Maryland. She is a member of the President's Circle of Top Real Estate Professionals. She can be reached at (800) 536-3806 or visit her website for more information: Carruthers REALTORS is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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