Can my sister, who is half owner of my house, move just show up and move in against my will?

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Can my sister, who is half owner of my house, move just show up and move in against my will?

We inherited the house which is paid for about 7 years ago. I’ve lived here and paid the bills the whole time. She is a troublemaking prostitute who lives 600 miles away in another state. She is thinking about just showing up and moving in but I’m not OK with it. I need to know if she legally can do this?

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

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that any legal owner of a home, can enter, use or occupy the premises as they see fit. They have the same rights as any other owner. If you want, you can file for an action in "partition". This is a legal remedey employed when co-owners of property cannot agree to ownership matters. Accordingly, the court will order a division of the property if practical. If not (such as in the case of a single family home), it will order a "sale in lieu of partition". Accordingly, the house will be ordered sold for fair market value and the proceeds equitably dispersed. First, however, before it is put in the market any owner who wishes to keep the property can buyout the other(s).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can move in: any owner has the same and equal rights to enter, occupy, use, reside in, etc. a home as the other owners. Her rights are equal to yours, and you cannot legally keep her out. You can sell the home if you don't want to live with her (if she refuses to voluntarily sell, you can bring a legal action, traditionally called an action "for partition," though your state may have a different name for it) to get a court order for the sale. If you do sell it, bear in mind that you will split the proceeds with her: as half owner, she is entitled to half the money from any sale of the property.


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