Unity of Possession Law and Legal Definition

Unity of possession means that each cotenant is entitled to possession of the whole property and every part thereof, subject to the same right in the other cotenants. Unity of possession is the essential dynamic present in all tenancies in common.

In Porter v. Porter, 472 So. 2d 630 (Ala. 1985), the court held that, at common law a joint tenancy could be severed by destruction of one of the four unities, that is, time, title, interest, and possession. Unity of possession requires that the property be held by one and the same undivided possession. Unity of possession means that all joint tenants have a common right to possess and enjoy the property. Possession by one cotenant is presumed to be possession by all. When one or all of the unities of time, title, and interest are destroyed the joint tenancy is severed and a tenancy in common results. This result follows from the rule of law that a tenancy in common requires only one unity, that of possession.