co ownership

Real Estate Agent with Perry Wellington Realty



Tenancy in common (estate inherits your interest in the land)

Tenants can ask for a partition if they so desire

Joint tenancy (right of survivorship, can be severed by inter vivos conveyance)

4 unities – time, title, interest, possession (p. 340)

Tenancy by the entirety (right of survivorship, not severable by just one actor)


Riddle v. Harmon p. 345

Wife tried to change it to tenancy in common before she died

Document destroyed joint tenancy and then specified who her share went to

Court says it is doable, it just saves you from having a straw man


Harms v. Sprague p. 350

Mortgage is a lien and not a title transfer, it does not effect joint tenancy

Result is that any mortgage company is going to require all tenants in common to sign


Joint bank accounts

It is a right to deposit money and have someone pay you interest on it

Right of survivorship – whoever is still alive can get the money if they want it

Courts try to adjudicate them as they see fit

May treat it as a gift to one party of the money in the account

May treat it as a gift at death

May treat it as access just to pay for the household or day to day affairs


Delfino v. Vealencis p. 359

Parties are entitled to a court partition as a matter of right (no need to show cause)

Helen wants to keep garbage business, others think this will hurt development

She seeks physical partition (divided by value), not partition by sale

Court should use partition by sale only as a last resort


Johnson v. Hendrickson p. 365

Leaves property to wife and children and then she remarries and gives interest to her husband

Kids want partition, he wants physical partition with his other land nearby

Court denies physical partition – does not consider property held apart form property held in common


Gray v. Crotts p. 366

Wanted partition of land closest to his other property, court decided on no special treatment


Spiller v. Mackereth p. 369

Tenant moves out and then one of the owners moves in

Other owner can’t ask him to vacate half as he has a right to all of it

She needs to try and enter or get an agreement for him to pay half before she can claim right to rental

If there is an ouster then she can bring a claim against him


Swatzbaugh v. Sampson p. 373

Husband wants to lease half to a boxing pavilion, wife disagrees

She cannot stop him as he has a right to all the property as long as he does not oust her


Comments (2)

Brian Bender
Perry Wellington Realty - Altoona, PA
Your 24 Hour Realtor
realestate info!!
Feb 03, 2008 10:57 PM
Scott Perry
Jireh Business Information Solutions, Inc. - North Huntingdon, PA

Pennsylvania has a law on the books called the Slayer's Act (20 Pa. C.S.A. §8801, et seq.) which prohibits a person who participates either as a principal or as an accessory before the fact in the wilful and unlawful killing of another person from acquiring any property or receiving any benefit resulting from the death of that person.

However, §8805 provides, in pertinent part, "One-half of any property held by the slayer and the decedent as tenants by the entirety shall pass upon the death of the decedent to his estate, and the other half shall be held by the slayer during his life, subject to pass upon his death to the estate of the decedent."

Under the law, any jointly held property automatically reverts to a tenancy in common, with a life estate interest in the slayer. This law was invoked in the murder of Dr. Gulam Moonda, a Mercer county urologist who was shot to death along the Ohio Turnpike in May of 2005.  His wife, Donna Moonda was convicted in July 2007 of participating in her husband's murder. 

Feb 03, 2008 11:34 PM