Can i be forced to sell a home that I am 1/2 owner of with my sister?

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Can i be forced to sell a home that I am 1/2 owner of with my sister?

My mother recently passed. The house she owned is deeded in hers, mine and my sister’s names. I have been paying all bills since the first of the year. My sister refuses to reimburse me her half of the bills. I told her that I would not put the house for sale until she pays me what she owes me. She said was going to proceed to have a contract put on the house and sell the house. Can she do that without my signature both for the contract and the sale of the house?

Asked on July 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

When joint owners cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides a remedy called "partition". In such an action, the court will order that the property be divided if possible. If not, such as in the case of a house, then it will order what is known as a "sale in lieu of partition". Pursuant to this, the property will be put on the market and sold for fair market value. The proceeds will then be distributed equitably. First, however, before being offered to any 3rd parties, any owner who wants to buy out the other owner(s) can do so (again for fair market value).

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

When joint owners cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides a remedy called "partition". In such an action, the court will order that the property be divided if possible. If not, such as in the case of a house, then it will order what is known as a "sale in lieu of partition". Pursuant to this, the property will be put on the market and sold for fair market value. The proceeds will then be distributed equitably. First, however, before being offered to any 3rd parties, any owner who wants to buy out the other owner(s) can do so (again for fair market value).


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