“ Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership of property which has no specified shares and where each co-owner together owns the entire interest in the property. The right of survivorship is the cornerstone of joint tenancy as when one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant takes the entire interest in the property. A joint tenancy can be created by statute or by the conveyance of land to two or more people without specifying that they hold the property in separate shares. For registered land, s 53(1) of the Land Titles Act (Cap 157, 2004 Rev Ed) (‘the LTA’) includes a presumption that co-tenants are joint tenants, unless it is specified otherwise. Under s 53(3) of the LTA, a joint tenancy can also be created by an instrument of declaration by co-owners of a property. A joint tenancy, however, is not protected from being divided into specified shares and this article will discuss how this severance can be done. ” (2016, Singapore - Joint Tenancy)
“ However, as per Williams v Hensmann (1861) 1 John & H 546, 70 ER 862.
2), when a severance depends on an inference of this kind without any express act of severance, it is insufficient to rely on an intention with respect to a particular share declared without the knowledge of the other interested persons. Rather, there must be a course of dealing by which the shares of all the parties involved have been affected. ”
Where there is no expressed transfer of rights, as there is none by Rose to George, the later has no right on the property concerned.
“ The Right of Survivorship, classically known as the Ius Accrescendi, basically means that if any party to the joint tenancy dies, he 'drops out of the picture', meaning that the Joint Tenancy carries on without him as if nothing has changed. Title to the estate is not considered to have changed hands even if the Joint Tenancy is only left with 1 party. It can be seen as sort of 'winner takes all' gamble, where the person who lives longest wins the entire estate. In, Shafeeg bin Salim Talib v Fatimah bte Abud bin Talib ( 2 SLR 1123 (SGCA) - Court in a Probate matter held that when a person died, his interest within a joint tenancy 'evaporates' and does not constitute part of the person's estate and the surviving parties in the Joint Tenancy may dispose of the property as they wished. ” (n.d., Joint Tenancy)
The legal principle and the case make it evident that after the death of Rose, Paul has the full ownership of the property. So, he also has right to evict George. But, George can claim his money back that Paul had used to build the extension in that property and to redeem a part of the mortgage.
“ In a joint tenancy, co-owners are individually wholly entitled to the whole of the property. Strange as it sounds, it means that, for instance, the husband owns 100% and the wife also owns 100%. It also means that, both co-owners possess a right of survivorship. Upon the death of one party, the surviving co-owner inherits the whole of the property. Things get complicated if co-owners provide unequal contribution to the purchase price of the property. But the rights remain same on the basis of survivorship. ” (2012, Joint ownership in Singapore and unequal contributions to purchase price)
“Under the LTA, a mortgage over registered land no longer entails a transfer of title. It is merely a charge over the property. The question then is whether a mortgage results in the severance of a joint tenancy since the title is still with the owner of the property. While the position is not definitive, academics have argued that a charge, even if it does not amount to alienation, is an act operating on the joint tenant’s own share and as such, a mortgage of registered land must also affect a severance.”
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