A type of joint ownership of property, where each owner is called a “joint tenant” and each owns the whole of the asset, rather than a distinct fractional share. When a joint tenant dies, the asset in question does not pass to his personal representatives as part of his estate. Instead, the asset (usually land, but can be a joint bank account or shares, for example) automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s).

It is one of two main types of joint ownership of property. The other is called a tenancy in common. It is possible to sever a joint tenancy and create a tenancy in common.

For these purposes, the word “tenancy” simply means ownership.

An immovable property held in joint tenancy has certain advantages. Where a joint owner dies, no further vesting of title in the other co-owner is required. 

However, a joint tenancy, by its very nature, also has some serious disadvantages. For example, where one co-owner for good reasons, does not wish the survivor to take the whole of the property. To achieve that, he has to sever the right of survivorship by severing the joint tenancy. The effect of the severance is to create a tenancy in common under which each co-owner holds a distinct share in the property.