Can I force owners who hold title as joint tenants to sell a house?

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Can I force owners who hold title as joint tenants to sell a house?

I own 50% of a vacation home; 2 brother-in-laws own 25%. One of them and I want to sell because it’s too expensive. The other brother-in-law does not want to sell. The title is in joint tenancy. The house does not get used. There is a small mortgage. What are my rights? Can we sell since 75% of the owners want to sell? can my brother-in-law force us not to sell? Can my brotherinlaw force us to sell our shares to him at a below market price?

Asked on May 2, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When co-owners of jointly held property cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides a remedy. It is called "partition". In an action for partiton, a property will be divided if feasible. If not, such as in your case, the court will order a "sale in lieu of partition" with the sale proceeds to be equitably divided. That having been said, before the property is put on the open market, any owner who wishes to retain the property can buyout the owners who want to sell, for fair market value.


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