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

Answers:

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.


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