Is there a way to evict someone from a house that they own half of it with someone else?

My mother and her brother own my grandparents house together, 50/50. Her
brother, my uncle, is the one living in it though while my mother currently
lives in her own house. The problem is because he’s living there currently with
his daughter over 18 and her boyfriend, they have trashed the house.
Countless times my mother has went there to tell them to clean it up, she’s
even cleaned it some of the times also. It has gotten so bad over the years
that my uncle and the two other people living there have started to collect
trash in the side building, that valuable belongings are stored, thus
attracting mice. Now only trash, full bags of cat feces and litter. This is
even in the garage of the main house where the freezers are stored and
apparently you can hardly breathe in there because it’s so bad. The rest of the
house isn’t being cleaned either and I want to find out if something can be
done to force them to fix this disgusting mess or be able to kick them out but
I don’t know since my uncle and my mother are both own the house.

Asked on April 8, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, one co-owner cannot evict another co-owner: his right to use, possession, etc. is equal to hers. What she can is to go to court and seek a court order requring that--because the owners are at odds about what to do with the property--the house be sold and the proceeds split between the owners. If she has spent money to clean/fix it up which he hasn't, and/or if she can prove that his actions have reduced the value of the home, she may even be able to get more than a 50-50 share. Such a lawsuit is substantially more complex than, say, the typical small claims case, so your mother is advised to retain an attorney (e.g. a real estate lawyer) to help her.


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