If 1 joint owner doesn’t want to sell a property but the other joint owners do, what can be done?

My husband owns land that has his, his brother, his sister and his aunt’s name. Everyone wants to sell except the aunt. Can we force her to sell or give her the option to buy us out?

Asked on August 25, 2011 Texas


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Co-owners of property who want to sell have the right to pursue the legal remedy of "partition". This is an action available to joint owners when they cannot agree as to whether or not to sell the property or other ownership matters.  A partition allows for the division of property among the owners if the property can be physically divided.  Where division would be impracticable (as in the instance of a single family dwelling) a court will order a "sale in lieu of partition" and an equitable division of the proceeds among the owners.  Before doing so however, it would permit a joint owner or owners to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner or owners at fair market value.

Note: Since this can be a costly and time-consuming process perhaps once your husband's aunt is informed of all of this she will come around regarding the sale.

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