Can I access/withdraw equity in a home jointly owned, without selling it?

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Can I access/withdraw equity in a home jointly owned, without selling it?

My 3 adult siblings and I own our childhood home equally, with one sibling physically living at the property. They refuse to sell or move and I am wondering how I can access my share of the equity in the home, or gain access to my monetary share of the home. We estimate the home is worth 100,000, but that appraisal amount is about 5 years old the house is located in Cleveland, OH. The house is paid in full, property taxes are paid semi-annually.

Asked on January 23, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, one owner cannot encumber (e.g. mortgage; take out a HELOC or reverse mortgage; etc.) a property without the consent of the other owners. If you and your siblings agree to let you (or all of you) tap the equity without selling, you can do that; but otherwise not. Without agreement of all the owners, your only recourse--and it is a drastic one--would be to file a "partition" legal action or lawsuit (your state may have a different name for it than "partition") in county court, seeking a court order compelling the sale of the property and the distribution of the proceeds among the owners. A forced or compulsory sale is the law's remedy when property owners cannot agree as to what to do with it.


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