Definitions of land title terms

This page has definitions of common terms used in land titles in the Northern Territory.

You can find more definitions of common property terms on the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory website.

Land titles

A land title is kept in a register of land and can contain registered dealings including the following:

  • mortgages
  • transfers
  • leases
  • discharge of mortgages
  • and applications to replace land title certificates.


A legal notice on a title stating a possible interest in addition to that of the owner.

You should get legal advice before you lodge a caveat.

Find out more about caveats.

Joint tenants

Joint tenants each have an equal interest in the whole of the property unlike tenants in common who have distinct shares in a property.

Upon the death of a joint tenant, the ownership of the land automatically belongs to the survivor.

It is usually not possible for a joint tenant to leave their share in a will or pass it on to a beneficiary where there is no will - unless the joint tenancy is broken up by law.

A company cannot be a joint tenant.

Tenant in common

Tenancy in common is when owners have distinct but undivided shares in the same property.

Although each person owns a specified portion of the property, none can identify a particular part of the property as being their share.

The major difference between tenants in common and joint tenants is that there is no right of survivorship with tenants in common.

When nominating tenancy in common on a transfer form you must also state the share holding applicable.

For example, owner A has a three-quarter share and owner B has the remaining quarter share.

When registering an instrument transferring an interest to co-owners, the Registrar-General must also register the co-owners as holding their interest as tenants in common or as joint tenants.

Subject to that section, if the instrument does not show whether co-owners are to hold as tenants in common or as joint tenants, the Registrar-General must register the co-owners as tenants in common.

Torrens title

All registered land in the NT is under Torrens Title.

Under the Torrens system an interest in the land is created by the registration of an instrument in the land register.

Last updated: 24 May 2022

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