Can a co-signer/co-borrower sell an interest in a home without the primary’s knowledge or consent?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can a co-signer/co-borrower sell an interest in a home without the primary’s knowledge or consent?

My wife and I bought our home 8 years ago. That was just about at the bottom of the market. I work in the film industry and my income and credit was adequate. However, due to the fact that we were in nationwide

financial crisis the loan officer was not giving out loans very easy. As a result I put down close to a third of the price in cash over $110,000 and my sister cosigned. Well last month I got some letters and documents stating my loving sister had sold a 1/3 interest of our home to a real estate brokerage firm. Now I think for

some reason the lone offricer put her on title but she was just a co-signer. We were never tenants in common or anything. I am the only person who has made any payments. I put down the down payment, paid the taxes and insurance and have made every morgage payment myself. She has never paid a penny or been asked to. The shock and disbelief are one thing but can she do that? Is this legal?

Asked on July 30, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If she was on the title, then she was an owner and would have been a tenant-in-common: in that event, she *could* sell her 1/3 interest. If she was not on the title, she was not a co-tenant or owner and could not sell: cosigning a mortgage, by itself, does not make you an owner or give you any right to sell any portion of or interest in the property. 
So the only real issue is: was she in fact on the title? If she was not, you can get the sale invalidated since she had no ownership or interest in the property. Your priority is to check the title, since if she's on it, this was legal and she did not criminal or illegal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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