My brother, sister and I own some property that my mom left us. We have allowed our sister to live there rent free but she has let the property go down terrible. Right now there is no power or water going to the home. But she does still stay there. We also fear that she is selling drugs from the home. Is there a legal way to get her evicted from the property since the land is in all 3 names?

Asked on January 6, 2019 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Every owner has an equal rights to use and occupy the premises as they so choose. Accordingly, you  may not evict your sister. That having been said, when co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters, there is a legal remedy known as "partition". In such an action, the court will order that the property be divided, if possible. If not, such as in the case of a single family house, then it will order a "sale in lieu of partition". This means that the property will be put on the market and when an offer for fair market value is accepted and the sale is completed, the proceeds will be equitably distributed among all of the owners. First, however, the party (or parties) who want to keep the property will be given the chance to buy out the other owners who don't want to sell. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not evict a co-owner: every owner has the right to use and occupy the premises. All you could do is, if you and she cannot work it out otherwise, is bring a kind of legal action called an action for "partition" and get a court order requiring that the property be sold (even if some of the owners don't want this) and that the proceeds of the sale, after the costs of sale, paying off any mortgages, etc., by distributed among the owners. That is the law's recourse when the owners of real estate cannot agree as to what to do with it: a forced sale.

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