What happens when co-owners can’t agree on the sale ofa property?

Mother quit claim deeded residence in WA to 3 siblings as joint tenants; now rental property. 2 siblings want to sell; 1 sibling is unwilling to sell. Will we have to take third sibling to court and hire attorney, what options do we have?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Washington


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your will want to consider the possibility of "partition". This is a legal remedy employed when 2 co-owners of property cannot agree on the running of the property. Either the court will instruct that the property be divided as per each owner's interest or, where division is impractical (as in the case of a single family dwelling), a court would instruct that the property be sold with the proceeds to be equitably split among the owners. However, before a sale would be ordered, the party not seeking the partition (i.e. the one who doesn't want to sell) would have the chance to buy out the filing party's interest in the property at fair market value. 

You really need to consult directly with a real estate attorney as to all of this. However, the fact of the matter is the a partition action can be both costly and time-consuming.

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