What is the difference between joint tenure and tenancy in common?

With tenancy in common, each person holds (owns) a portion of the whole piece of land, although that portion is not demarcated. If a husband and wife hold land as tenants in common and one of them dies without leaving a will, his/her share will be part of his/her estate and will be distributed to his/her heirs. When land is held in common, the owners have a right to do what they want with their portion of the land. For example, a portion of the land can be sold to someone outside of the tenancy in common.

In contrast, joint tenure means that more than one person holds (owns) the whole of the property. Land held in joint tenure can only be acted on with the consent of all the owners, as each owner is acting for all owners on the whole property. For example, for land to be disposed of, all the joint owners must agree to do so. While still alive, a joint owner may transfer his/her interest to all the other owners, but to no other person. In some property systems, if a joint owner dies, his/her interest in the land will vest in the surviving owner(s). This is called the right of survivorship. In other places, if one person dies, the land automatically becomes tenancy in common, and the land is divided among all the owners with the deceased owner’s land going to his/her heirs.

Note: Joint tenure can also be called joint ownership. Tenancy in common can also be called common tenure or common ownership.