Can a forced partition result in creating a non-conforming lot?

MY SISTER AND I CO-OWN FAMILY PROPERTY WHICH WE WANT TO SPLIT. THE TOWNSHIP REQUIRES LOTS TO BE 1 ACRE. WE HAVE AGREED I WILL RETAIN THE HOUSE WHICH IS MY RESIDENCE. THE PROBLEM IS I WILL BE .3 OF AN ACRE SHORT THE WAY MY SISTER WANTS TO SUBDIVIDE. NOW SHE HAS HIRED A LAWYER AND IS GOING TO FORCE A PARTITION. DO I HAVE ANY RECOURSE?

Asked on September 21, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Jonathan Stanwood / Law Office of Jonathan H. Stanwood, LLC

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to get a variance from the ordinance.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to get yourself an attorney as well.  An action for partition ask a the court to literally split the property in half.  When there is a house involved a Judge will generally order the property sold.  What does your sister really want?  Is the property big enough for two 1 acre lots and can you house be positioned to be totally on one acre?  If you yourself hire an attorney it may be the start of negotiations between you and your sister that will allow you to keep the house and live there within the constraints of the township.  Either way you need to be able to use the house.  Be prepared for the worst, though.  Family gets funny sometimes when there is money involved.  Good luck.


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