News: Joint tenancy contracts for Muslims now deemed religiously valid

May 14, 2019

The Fatwa Committee of Singapore has acknowledged joint tenancy agreements in Singapore as religiously valid. 

Joint tenancy contracts entered into by Muslims are now considered religiously valid, even without the need of drawing up additional documents. 

As such, joint owners of the property now have the option of choosing either a joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common contract.

The fatwa, or religious advisory, on joint tenancy contract was issued by the Fatwa Committee of Singapore, revealed the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in a press release on Monday (13 May).

“Under the joint tenancy contract, each of the co-owners together own the whole interest in the property. If one were to buy property under a joint tenancy contract, the right of survivorship applies. This means that upon the death of one of the tenants, the surviving co-tenant would have absolute ownership of the property,” said Muis.

Each co-owner under tenancy-in-common contract, on the other hand, holds a separate and distinct share of the property that is passed on to a beneficiary according to Islamic inheritance law, upon his or her death.

With this, prospective homeowners are advised to carefully consider both options while understanding the implications of the surviving joint tenant and beneficiaries.

But while a joint tenancy contract is “typically the better option as it safeguards the interest of one’s immediate family in the event of one’s passing”, there are other possible scenarios in which a tenancy-in-common contract is the more appropriate option, noted the Islamic body.

“Owners must deliberate responsibly and decide on the best choice possible according to their personal circumstances,” it added.

Owners are also encouraged to consult a legal professional “before purchasing their property to clear any doubts and to ensure that no negligence and injustice is inflicted on the surviving party”, said Deputy Mufti of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin Nasir.

The new fatwa applies in case an owner of a joint-tenancy house has passed away prior to its release, and the surviving owner has not sold the house yet.

A tenancy agreement protects the welfare of both the landlord and the tenant, and should have these standard terms. Here’s a simple guide to help you out.  

Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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