How can I force a buyout of a house that I am 1/2 owner of?

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How can I force a buyout of a house that I am 1/2 owner of?

My father passed away 4 years ago. He left my brother and I a house that I never wanted. I need my 1/2 as a clean break but my brother won’t budge. I feel like a hostage of my rightful half.

Asked on January 16, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that the title to the property is now in yours and your brother's names, then either of you can force a sale. There is a legal remedy when co-owners of jointly held property cannot agree as to ownership matters that is called "partition". In a partition, if a property can be equally divided, then a court will so instruct. However, in the event that it cannot be divided (as in the case of a single family house), then instead the court will order a "sale in lieu of partition". This means that the property will be sold and the proceeds distributed equitably among all of the owners. That having been said, before a sale would be ordered, a co-owner would be given the right to negotiate a buy out of the other co-owner. However, you should be aware that since a partition action can be costly and time consuming, it is advisable for to try an work out an amicable agreement. 


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