IfI have not been able to sell the house, can I legally rent it instead?

I have a house that my ex-husband is still on the deed for. In our separation agreement (not our divorce paperwork as nothing was included in that paperwork) it indicates that I am to reside in the house and maintain the house payments taxes repairs, etc. Upon the sale of the house we will split all the equity minus the principal paid by me. I have tried to sell the house but have not been able to in over a year on the market. I was going to rent it instead. Can my ex do anything to me legally for renting the home?

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Family Law, North Carolina


Jonathan Baner / Baner and Baner Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You need to be somewhat careful here.  If you rent it out for a year, then I would argue that you are in contempt of court and doing so willingly because there is a greatly reduced chance that you can sell a house that has tenants inside (typically).  However, if it is a month to month tenancy, and the house STAYS ON THE MARKET, you're probably on safer ground. You're unlikely to be ordered to remain in the house - but that was one of the things you were awarded (i.e. its a good thing you're free to do or not do).


Note that evicting a tenant is not always as easy as it sounds and generally requires an attorney (eviction attorneys generally charge in the 400-1200 range for residential real estate as far as I am aware - i'm on the lower end of that spectrum, but higher than some others). 

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