An explanation of the requirements for co-ownership of a property in land law.
What are the four unities of co-ownership?
The four unities that must exist between co-owners are: possession, interest, title and time.
- Unity of Possession
The joint tenants must have the right to possess the property in its entirety. This is somewhat seen as the foundation of co-ownership as the property cannot be divided in a manner that would separate the property or affect the joint tenants’ share. The tenants must have the right to enjoy the property as a whole, concurrently.
- Unity of Interest
The co-owners must have identical rights over the land. They must have the same share and if they are joint tenants, they must have equal shares in the land. For tenants in common however, they can have unequal shares in the property.
- Unity of Title
All co-owners must have had their interests outlined in the same document or acquired in the same manner.
- Unity of Time
The co-owners must have acquired or ‘vested’ their interests at the same time.