Can my brother force a sale on a house that we own if my children are living here with me?

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Can my brother force a sale on a house that we own if my children are living here with me?

My children and I moved in with my mother 5 years ago. Her name only is on the mortgage. She passed away 2 years later. My brother and I paid the house off in cash and 2 years ago I invited him to move in. He’s been here since. He has a girlfriend and let her move in for about a month. However, things went ugly and now he’s threatening to take the house from me and force a sale. What are my rights?

Asked on July 11, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters, any co-owner can force a sale of the property. The action under which this is done is called "parition". In a partition action, if a property can be equally divided, the judge will so instruct. If, however, division is impractical (as in the case of a house), then the court will order a sale with the proceeds to be distributed equitably. That having been said, before that any owner who wants to keep the property will be given the chance to buy out the other owner(s) for fair market value. Otherwise, it will be offered for sale to the general public.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters, any co-owner can force a sale of the property. The action under which this is done is called "parition". In a partition action, if a property can be equally divided, the judge will so instruct. If, however, division is impractical (as in the case of a house), then the court will order a sale with the proceeds to be distributed equitably. That having been said, before that any owner who wants to keep the property will be given the chance to buy out the other owner(s) for fair market value. Otherwise, it will be offered for sale to the general public.


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