How can I sell co-owned property if one of the owners does not want to sell?

My 2 brothers and I have a life estate deed on some property. Another brother and I would like to sell the property and divide the proceeds, but my another brother would like the property to himself. I know he does not have sole rights to the property. What do we do?

Asked on May 22, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When owners of jointly held property cannot agree on whether or not to sell (or other ownership matters), the law allows for something known as "partition". This is a legal remedy employed that entails going before a judge who will either order a division of the property if practical. If not, they will order that the property be sold and the proceeds equitably distributed. If the event of a forced sale, the court will allow any owner who wishes to retain the propety the right of "first refusal". This means that they can offer to buy out the party who wants to sell, for fair market value before the property is offered to the public. That having been said, a partition action can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Therefore, at this point, you may want to go over all of this with your siblings. It's quite possible after having all of this explained to them, they will be more amenable to try and work things out without the necessity of going to court.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.