I have 85 interest in a property I wish to sell and for which I have a buyer. What are my options if the 15 interest holder cannot be found.

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I have 85 interest in a property I wish to sell and for which I have a buyer. What are my options if the 15 interest holder cannot be found.

The property was purchased for me about ten years ago by a relative who was a
contractor. He intended to develop the property but died soon after its
purchase. There are back taxes on the property, and the country has tried
unsuccessfully to sell it at auction. I have a buyer for the property who will
pay the back taxes. However, the intended builder of the property has a 15
interest. I have never known him and have had no success in finding him in the
county. My guess is that he no longer cared about the property after my
relative/contractor died, as there has been no contact from him. But he’s
still on the deed, although with no address. It seems like there should be a
win-win solution

1 The county wants the money
2 Mr. 15 no longers cares what happens
3 A buyer wants to buy the property
4 I want to sell the property

Asked on May 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You have to bring a legal action to get a court order for the sale: you cannot unilaterally sell the home without providing notice to your co-owner, and even if you have legitimately tried and failed to find him, you still need a court to validate your efforts and give the go-ahead for the sale. Otherwise, without his signature or a court order, you will not be able to transfer the title. 
On the facts you describe, you should be able to get such an order. You can even likely do so an "emergent" (think "urgent" or "emergency") basis to get into court faster. But procedurally, this will be much more complex than, say, a small claims case. Do yourself a favor and hire an attorney to bring this for you. Good luck.


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