What happens when co-owners cannot agree on whether or not to sell a property?

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What happens when co-owners cannot agree on whether or not to sell a property?

A California property is split three ways. The mortgage on the property was paid off long ago. Following her mother’s death 12 years ago, the daughter has ownership of her mother’s half via the mother’s Will plus a grant deed from her stepfather. Each of 2 granddaughters will have equal parts ownership of the remaining half from their step-grandfather upon his death. The daughter and granddaughters do not reside at this property. Upon the death of the current tenant, is the sale of the property dependent on the full agreement of all parties? Is there any recourse if the 1/2 owner wants to sell, but 1 or both of the 1/4 owners refuses?

Asked on June 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In cases where co-owners of property (real or personal) cannot agree on the whether or not to sell, the party seeking the sale can go to court and file an action for what is known as “partition”.  A partition can be accomplished by physical division or by sale.  If the property cannot be divided as a practical matter (as in the case of a house), the court would order a "partition by sale". Accordingly, once the property was sold, the proceeds would be equitably distributed to the owners.  Although before a sale would be ordered, the court would permit the non-filing co-owner to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner(s) for fair market value. 

Here is a link to an article that can more fully explain things:

https://real-estate-law.freeadvice.com/real-estate-law/real-estate-law/sale-of-jointly-owned-property.htm


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