What is Tenancy in Common in CRE?

While the world of commercial real estate (CRE) is rich with opportunities, navigating your way through requires more than just capital. You need insight into how diverse ownership structures can impact your investment too.

At the heart of these structures is tenancy in common (TIC), a concept that might sound complex at first look but opens up a world of possibilities for investors ready to pool resources and share in the adventure and rewards of property ownership.

If you want to know what tenancy in common is, we’ve got you covered in this guide. We’re also covering some of the deeper complexities such as legal and tax implications. Read on to discover whether tenancy in common might be the right CRE ownership choice for you.

What is Tenancy in Common?

Tenancy in common (TIC) is a legal ownership structure in CRE where many parties co-own a commercial property.

Each owner, known as a ‘tenant in common’, holds a piece of the property's ownership pie, which can vary in size depending on their investment.

At its core, TIC in CRE is all about teamwork, access, and flexibility.

TIC lets investors with different budgets and risk appetites come together to own a piece of a property. It becomes possible to invest in high-value commercial assets that might be out of reach for individual investors.

Whether you're looking for a conservative or aggressive investment approach, TIC allows you to tailor your investment to your preferences.

What is Tenancy in Common?
What is Tenancy in Common?

Why Choose Tenancy in Common for Ownership?  

Choosing TIC for ownership brings several strategic advantages for investors. Let’s look at a few:

1. Diversification of Your Investment Portfolio

TIC allows investors to spread their capital across multiple properties or fractional interests within a single property.

An investor could own fractions of office buildings, retail centers, and industrial warehouses through TIC.

In this way, they are reducing risk by diversifying across different sectors of the CRE market.

2. Potential for Higher ROI Through Access to Larger, More Lucrative Properties

Another perk of TIC is its ability to provide access to higher-value properties, which could lead to higher return on investment.

Larger properties often benefit from economies of scale, resulting in more efficient management and greater income generation.

A group of investors, for instance, could join forces through TIC to buy a prime downtown office tower or a large shopping mall. Both offer significant revenue streams and long-term growth prospects.  

These larger projects may require significant capital for purchase, development, or renovation. The good news is that investors can pool resources and team up to tackle these big-ticket properties that might otherwise be out of reach.

3. Risk Mitigation

Sharing the load means spreading the risk, which can be comforting when taking on larger projects.

Each investor's liability is limited to their share of ownership, reducing individual exposure to risk.

Furthermore, if one investor faces financial difficulties or wants to exit the investment, it doesn't jeopardize the entire ownership structure.

4. Flexibility in Managing Investment Stakes and Transferring Ownership Shares

TIC offers flexibility in managing stakes and transferring shares. Investors can adjust their ownership percentages by buying or selling fractional interests within the TIC structure.

For example, an investor might sell a part of their ownership stake in one property to free up capital for other investments. They might alternatively increase their stake in a property they believe has strong growth potential.

TIC allows them to adapt their portfolios according to market conditions or personal preferences.

Operational Dynamics of TIC in CRE

As we’ve said, TIC involves multiple individuals sharing ownership of a property. Each investor's ownership share is based on their initial investment. They share expenses like property taxes and maintenance costs accordingly.

Unlike some co-ownership structures, TIC allows individual owners to freely sell their shares to any willing buyer.

TIC does not have ‘right of survivorship’ (as is the case in a joint tenancy). So, when a tenant in common dies, their share passes to their designated beneficiary, not the remaining co-owners.

TIC agreements outline who owns what, who's responsible for what, and how decisions are made. Decision-making processes usually involve consensus or voting among investors.

Typically, property management is assigned to either a designated manager or a management company. They would handle tasks according to the terms laid out in the TIC agreement. These tasks may include:

  • Maintenance
  • Tenant relations
  • Financial management  

Overall, the key to smooth operations and achieving success is effective teamwork and communication.

Tax Considerations for TIC in CRE

When thinking about taxes for TIC investments, there are a few factors that come into play.

Investors in TIC typically shoulder only the portion of property taxes which aligns with their ownership stake.
Thus, each investor's tax burden is determined by their fractional interest in the property.

Additionally, TIC structures might offer perks for individual investors, like the chance to deduct their share of property taxes as a business expense.

In TIC arrangements, investors may be jointly and severally liable for the property taxes owed. This means that if one investor fails to meet their tax obligations, the others might have to step in to cover the shortfall.

It is therefore crucial for TIC investors to understand and strategize around their tax obligations to ensure compliance with tax regulations. By doing so, they will also minimize the risks associated with joint and several liability.  

Legal and Financial Challenges in TIC Investments

TIC investments can be complex due to the nature of shared ownership. While TIC investments offer plenty of potential, they also come with their fair share of legal and financial hurdles. Savvy investors need to navigate these obstacles with care.  

Financing TIC investments can be difficult. Traditional lenders may be wary of TIC structures due to concerns about shared ownership and potential disputes among investors. Investors may need to look for specialized financing options or work with lenders experienced in TIC transactions.

What are the Operational Dynamics of TIC?
What are the Operational Dynamics of TIC?

It can be tough to navigate the intricate legal agreements and potential disputes in TIC investments. They may require careful review and negotiation. When disputes arise, bringing in legal help or mediators might be the only way to smooth things out.

In the end, the main goal should be to make sure everyone is on the same page while protecting their interests and investments.

TIC vs. Syndication and REITs in CRE Investing

When it comes to CRE investing, there are a few different routes to choose from. Each one comes with its own set of perks and considerations.

Simply put, TIC investments cater for ‘hands-on’ types of people.

It offers investors a collective ownership model with more influence over decisions. It also entails shared risks and responsibilities with co-owners.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) – akin to purchasing shares in a real estate company – offer a more passive approach to CRE investing. REITs allow investors to navigate the market without direct involvement in property management. It is a smoother investment journey, but returns may not correlate directly with individual property performance.

Syndications offer a bit of both. With this option, investors are slightly more hands-off, but still not as far removed from their property as with REITs.
By pooling resources, investors entrust a professional team to manage the property on their behalf.  

When considering which path to take, you should think about three main things:

  • Your desired level of involvement
  • Your risk tolerance
  • Your investment objectives
TIC vs. Syndication and REITs in CRE Investing

Future Trends in TIC within Commercial Real Estate

There are some interesting trends shaping up for tenancy in common investments in CRE. As these developments continue, TIC investors will need to remain adaptable and proactive.

One trend to keep an eye on is the impact of blockchain technology on how ownership in TIC properties is tracked and managed. Blockchain technology brings a host of advantages to the real estate sector to make transactions more transparent, safe, and efficient. It also opens the market globally since transactions from anywhere in the world are more secure than with normal bank transfers.

We're also seeing shifts in the regulations that could affect TIC investments down the line. Alterations to tax deductions or incentives for real estate investment properties could affect the financial viability of TIC arrangements. Changes in zoning regulations could impact the development potential or use of properties.

Investors will need to stay on their toes to ensure compliance and to navigate changes that could impact their investments. This might mean stricter reporting requirements or new rules governing TIC structures.

Final Thoughts on Tenancy in Common in CRE  

So, as you're mulling over whether a tenancy in common ownership structure fits with your property goals, the bottom line is this: know yourself as an investor. Are you comfortable with compromise, collaboration, and a bit of complexity for the promise of potential gains? If yes, TIC could be a solid move. It's about not going solo in the vast and often volatile seas of CRE, but rather, finding strength (and possibly success) in numbers.

As commercial real estate evolves, and as investing becomes more about smart collaboration, TIC stands out as an intriguing option. The main question for you isn't only about assessing risk tolerance or pinpointing investment goals, it's whether you’re ready to dive into a communal investment adventure. Are you going to give it a try?

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