The Duration and Sharing of Ownership - dummies

The Duration and Sharing of Ownership

By Alan R. Romero

An individual can own all the legal ownership rights in an item of real or personal property. But often, more than one person has some ownership rights in a particular property.

Sometimes different people have the legal right to possess and use the same property at different times: One person has the right to use the property for a certain time, and then another person has the right to the property, then another, and so on. Estates and leaseholds are forms of successive ownership rights like this:

  • Estates: An estate is ownership of property for some amount of time. A person can own property indefinitely, for a lifetime, for a specified number of years, and for other time periods. For example, one person may own the property for her lifetime, and then another person gets it when she dies.

  • Leaseholds: A lease is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that gives the tenant the present estate (which may be called a leasehold). The tenant has the right to possess the property for a time, and the landlord has the right to take possession back when the leasehold ends.

Different people also may share ownership of the same property at the same time rather than successively. Such ownership may be called concurrent ownership. Married couples may share ownership of property in unique ways.