a form of property ownership by two or more people, where the share of an owner who dies passes under his or her will or under intestacy laws, and not to the surviving tenant(s).
Applies to two or more people owning property together. An owner can bequeath his interest/share (regardless of his absolute percentage of the property owned) in the property at his death to his own chosen beneficiaries; his share need not become property of the other owners, as is the case in joint tenancy. In most states a tenant in common may encumber only his share of the property, therefore, the other tenants' shares are debt-free. In some jurisdictions, two property owners are presumed to be tenants in common unless they have written agreements to the contrary.