Can I lease out my portion of the house that I share with my brother?

UPDATED: Apr 12, 2012

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Can I lease out my portion of the house that I share with my brother?

My brother and I are equal owners of the property but the mortgage loan is under my brother’s name. Due to some issues I want to lease out my portion of the house. Also is it legally allowed for my brother to build another room and attach to the house without my permission?

Asked on April 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is th issue. If you are equal owners of the home, you have equal rights to the home. If you own as joint tenants, there may be issue with respect to the idea of pulling building permits and get a person to do it who is licensed. If you own as joint tenants, there may be more legal issues you can argue than if you were tenants in common. Either way, if your brother wishes to pay for the improvements to the home, he can pay for it with his money but if he attempts to pull equity from the home (HELOC), then you best make sure he doesn't attempt to forge your signature or try to get it on his own. He may be precluded because of the legal ramifications of using money from the home without both owners on the loan (homestead issues and disclaimers and such). As an owner, you can certainly lease out portions of the home but if the mortgage loan is solely in your brother's name, it won't matter. That only has to do with the promisory note. Again, if he attempts to pull equity, you have to be a signatory on the mortgage (not the note).

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