Cotenant Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Cotenant, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Cotenant?

One of the person out of the two or more people holding title to the same property.

History and Meaning of Cotenant

A cotenant, in legal terms, refers to one or more individuals who own a property, such as an apartment or house, with another party or parties. Cotenancy occurs when two or more people purchase the same property at the same time or inherit ownership together. Each cotenant has an equal right to possess and use the property; however, they must also share the expenses and profits of the property.

Cotenancy has been in existence for centuries, dating back to the feudal system in medieval England, where a landlord would grant land to multiple individuals to share. Cotenant arrangement has applied to modern-day property ownership in many countries, including the United States.

Examples of Cotenant

  • John and Mary inherit the family house together and are both cotenants of the property.
  • Three friends decide to purchase an investment property together, and they all become cotenants.
  • A brother and sister buy a vacation home together and become cotenants.

Legal Terms Similar to Cotenant

  • Joint Tenancy: Co-ownership of property with a right of survivorship.
  • Tenancy in Common: Co-ownership of property where each cotenant holds a specific percentage or share of the property.
  • Tenants by the Entirety: A form of joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, but only available to married couples.