How can we sell a property although one party has not contributed to the upkeep?

My mom passed 28 years ago leaving a small house to her 5 adult children. Since then, 3 of the children have paid the taxes insurance and made major renovations to the house; 2 of the 5 children have never given even a dollar to the upkeep. The 3 children now want to sell and will and or willing to share with the 2 children though not in equal amounts since they have not contributed. Also, 1 of the 2 does not want to sell. What can be done?

Asked on June 25, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, when co-owners of real estate cannot agree as to ownership matters the law provides a remedy known as "partition". In such an action, the court will order that the property sold in practical. If it is not ( as in the case of a single family house), then it will order a "sale in lieu of partition". Accordingly, the property will be put on the market and sold for fair market value. The proceeds will then be equitably distributed. This means that the court can make allownace for reimbursement for expenses paid by some wners but not by others. Note, before being offered to 3rd paties for sale, any owner(s) who wants to buy out the other owner(s) will be given the chance to do so.

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, when co-owners of real estate cannot agree as to ownership matters the law provides a remedy known as "partition". In such an action, the court will order that the property sold in practical. If it is not ( as in the case of a single family house), then it will order a "sale in lieu of partition". Accordingly, the property will be put on the market and sold for fair market value. The proceeds will then be equitably distributed. This means that the court can make allownace for reimbursement for expenses paid by some wners but not by others. Note, before being offered to 3rd paties for sale, any owner(s) who wants to buy out the other owner(s) will be given the chance to do so. 


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