Ending a Joint Tenancy in Florida: A Step-by-Step Guide
A joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership in which two or more individuals own a property together. In Florida, a joint tenancy can be terminated in several ways, including through the sale of the property, death of a joint tenant, or mutual agreement between the tenants. The following steps outline the process of ending a joint tenancy in Florida.
Step 1: Determine the Type of Joint Tenancy
There are several types of joint tenancy in Florida, including joint tenancy with right of survivorship and tenancy in common. In a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, if one of the joint tenants passes away, their share of the property automatically transfers to the surviving joint tenant. In a tenancy in common, each tenant holds an individual share of the property, which can be bequeathed to anyone they choose upon death. In Florida, the default form of concurrent ownership is tenants in common. If the deed does not explicitly state that the multiple owners of a property are joint tenants “with rights of survivorship” or “tenants by the entirety”, they will automatically be considered tenants in common.
Step 2: Review the Joint Tenancy Agreement
Before ending a joint tenancy, it is important to review the joint tenancy agreement to determine the terms and conditions under which the tenancy can be terminated. The agreement may contain specific provisions regarding the termination of the tenancy, such as the requirement for written notice or payment of fees. If there is no written agreement in place that defines termination, then the process will be governed by the Florida Statutes, specifically Chapter 689, Part III, “Joint Tenancy and Tenancy by the Entirety.” This section of the Florida Statutes provides the legal framework and definitions for joint tenancy, as well as the rights and obligations of joint tenants. It also outlines the procedures for creating, modifying and terminating a joint tenancy in the state of Florida.
“In Florida, the default form of concurrent ownership is tenants in common.”
Step 3: Negotiate with Other Joint Tenants
If terminating a joint tenancy due to the sale of the property or because of a disagreement with the other joint tenants, it is advisable to have a conversation with them to reach a mutually agreeable solution. If unable to reach a mutual agreement, an attorney or mediator may need to be involved to resolve the matter.
Step 4: Prepare and File a Written Notice
If terminating a joint tenancy due to the sale of the property or because of a mutual agreement with the other joint tenants, a written notice needs to be prepared and filed with the Florida real estate records office. This notice should include the names of all joint tenants, the property’s address and a statement indicating the termination of the joint tenancy.
Step 5: Transfer Ownership
If the joint tenancy is being terminated due to the sale of the property, ownership of the property will need to be transferred to the new owner. This can be accomplished through a transfer of title, which must be recorded with the Florida real estate records office. Transferring title may sound like a straightforward process, however, in many cases, it involves multiple steps. It may also require the assistance of a real estate attorney to ensure all steps are taken correctly.
To transfer title an experienced real estate attorney can assist in the preparation of legal documents, direct the payment of transfer taxes, and record the transfer with the Florida real estate records office. Whether an attorney is involved or not, the process requires that the following steps are taken:
- Obtain a copy of the current property deed: This can be obtained from the Florida real estate records office or from the current property owner.
- Prepare a new deed: The new deed should include the names of the current owner (grantor) and the new owner (grantee), a legal description of the property, and the signatures of the grantor and the grantee.
- Calculate and pay transfer taxes: Florida requires the payment of transfer taxes for all real estate transactions, which are based on the sale price or the appraised value of the property.
- Have the new deed notarized: The new deed must be signed by the grantor and the grantee in the presence of a notary public.
- Record the new deed: The new deed must be recorded with the Florida real estate records office to officially transfer the title of the property to the new owner.
- Obtain a copy of the recorded deed: After the transfer has been recorded, a copy of the recorded deed can be obtained from the Florida real estate records office.
Step 6: Seek Legal Counsel
Whether terminating a joint tenancy due to a dispute or for amicable reasons, it is recommended to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney. An attorney can assist in understanding the rights and responsibilities as a joint tenant and guide through the process of ending the tenancy.
South Florida Law
South Florida Law is a full-service law firm with offices in Broward (Hallandale) and Miami-Dade (Coral Gables). With South Florida Law you benefit from the attention to detail and access to partner-level advice that only comes from a boutique-sized firm. However, you also benefit from the firm’s considerable resources that are more akin to that of a larger law firm. If you are facing a legal matter related to joint ownership in a property then reach out to us today for a free consultation by calling (954) 900-8885 or via our website contact form.