What happens if a co-owner of property wants to sell jointly owned land but the other owners do not?

Father died, left 5 daughters 50 acres of undivided property. 1 wants to sell; 4 do not. Can the 1 sell undivided property if the buyer wants to build a house (permanent structure) without the property being divided? Can she force the division of the property to allow the sale to go through? If so, who is stuck with the survey and court costs?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If a parcel is owned by multiple owners where one (1) out of the five (5) owners wants to sell her interests in the property, the easiest way to resolve the issue is to have the other four (4) or some of them buy out that party's interests in the property.

The one owner who wants to sell can only sell her fractionalized interest in the property and only hers. If the one owner who wants to sell her interest in the property cannot reach an agreement as to price and terms with her siblings for her interests in it, then the way to resolve the impasse is the filing of a partition action where the court if it approves the action orders the property listed and sold by all owners to a third party or where the one owner's interests is bought out by the other co-owners or at least one of them.

In order to subdivide the property, an application needs to be made and approved with a proposed tentative map dividing the property into smaller parcels. If the one sibling wants to sell her interests in the parcel and the way to do so is to have it subdivided, she will have to pay the costs for such and then reach an agreement in writing with the other four (4) siblings as to which ones receive which subdivided parcels assuming the fifty (50) acre parcel can even be subdivided.

Good question.


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