There are 3 co-owners of a house, 2 of whom want to sell but the third does not and won’t, what are their options?

Asked on August 22, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Alaska


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When co-owners of property (real or personal) cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law offers a remedy called "partition". This entails appearing in court before a judge who can then order a physical division of the property, if practical. If not (such as in the case of a single family house), they will order that it be sold and the proceeds distributed equitably. However before that happens, the court will first allow any owner who wants to keep the property a "right of first refusal". This means that they can buy out the other parties for fair market value before it is offered for sale to the public. You should be aware , however, that such a lawsuit is time-consuming and costly. Therefore, you may want to inform the owner who doesn't want to sell of all of this. Possibly after having done so, they will be more amenable to work things out.

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