What are a co-owner’s rights to live on the property?

I am disabled and my father gave me deed to the family land. I deeded 1/2 to my brother in an undivided portion. Now my brother wants to sell all the property and force me out. However, since I am disabled, am I allowed to live here until my death.

Asked on January 27, 2013 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid that absent having reserved yourself what is known as a "life estate", you have no legal right to live on the property until your death. This is true whether or not you are disabled. At this point, if you cannot come to an agareement with your brother, as a co-owner he could file what is known as a a "partition". Basically, this is an action wherein a tproperty is divided if possible (e.g. if you have raw land). However, since here we appear to be discussing a single family home, the court wwill direct a "sale in lieu of partition". This means that the property can be ordered to be sold to either the other co-owner who wants to remain. If they cannot afford to purchase the property, then it will be sold to a 3rd party and the proceeds of the sale equitably distributed.

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