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Common Property Ownership

The maximCommunio Mater Rixarim Est” – is a latin phrase in law which means communal ownership is the mother of all disputes. Needless to say, many co-owners can agree with this.

The term Co-ownership refers to two or more people that jointly hold the entitlements of ownership in one or more properties at the same time, which include:

  1. The right to use the property
  2. The right to receive the “fruits” of the property
  3. The right to change the property
  4. The right to possess the property
  5. The owner’s right to prevent others from violating his or her rights
  6. The right to vindicate the property

Each co-owner has an undivided share in the common property, meaning, that the property cannot be divided until such time that the co-ownership exists. A co-owner may not dispose of or alienate the property without the consent of the other co-owners.

 

TERMINATION OF CO-OWNERSHIP:

As a rule of thumb, a co-owner may terminate or alienate his or her share of the property without the consent of the other co-owners. If a co-owner wishes to terminate his or her co-ownership in the property, he or she must prove:

  1. That co-ownership exists
  2. The other co-owner(s) refuse to terminate the co-ownership and they cannot agree on a method of termination.

In this instance, a court can grant an order to divide the co-ownership in a manner that it deems fit for the circumstances. For example, a court may award the property to one of the co-owners provided a sum of money is paid out to the other co-owners in return. A court may also order that the property be sold and the proceeds of such be distributed to the co-owners in their respective shares.

 

The main thing to remember is that Co-ownership should always be in writing and drafted by an Attorney to iron out ambiguity and/or any grey areas that could impact any of the above rights of the co-owners. Should there be any variations to the co-ownership, these too should be in writing, clear and unambiguous. Contact us for a professionally drafted property partnership / co-ownership agreement when next you buy property with someone else to ensure that you don’t have these headaches.

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