When we speak about “land” under land law in Grenada, the term includes any building placed on the land at any time, including after the property is acquired.
Therefore, on the face of it, what goes in the deed about how the land is to be owned applies to any building(s) constructed on the land, before or after the deed.
Nothing more needs to be done to reflect that the building is owned by the person whose name is on the deed; it happens because the law says so.
The manner in which more than one person can own property is described by reference to language which might confuse the non-lawyer into believing that we are talking about rental of property: “tenants/tenancy”. Of course, this is not the case, but it is the legal term of art used to describe ownership by more than one person of an interest in any property.
The options predominantly used are joint tenancy or tenancy in common.
If more than one person holds the property as joint tenants, they own the whole of the property jointly and must all agree and join in to any future sale or other transfer of the property. If one of them dies, the remaining owner(s) becomes entitled to the whole of the property. It is not inherited by the persons entitled to the deceased person’s estate unless a will in special technical form was made by all owners.
If at a later date in the owners’ lives, they wish to determine which one owns how much of the property outside of the presumed equal share by each of them, and failing their agreement otherwise, an application to the High Court has to be made for the court to make that determination.
This option allows the parties to choose in what proportions they will own the property, that is to say, they can own it equally, or for example, 1/3:2/3, or in whatever proportion they may choose, based on their respective contributions to the property and their agreement. This removes any presumption that multiple owners have an equal interest.
While he or she is alive, each owner is free to deal with his or her share as he or she pleases, without a need, in law, for the consent of the other owner, and also to provide for his or her interest after his or her death. If no will is made, then his or her share passes to his or her estate according to intestacy laws, dealt with in an earlier article.
Lesson: when acquiring land with anyone else, please ensure that you tell your attorney-at-law how you would like to own the land, as tenants-in-common or as joint tenants, in order to ensure that the deed is drafted to achieve your desire.
Grenada Bar Association