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I have lived in my home for the past 3 years. The home belonged to my brother, now deceased, who had no surviving spouse or children. Both parents also deceased. His next of kin was myself his full sister and a half brother. As such, I own 70% of the home and the half brother owns the other 30%. Can my half brother request I pay him in back rent for his share for the entire time I’ve lived in my home when there was no rental agreement drafted? Also, if I’m planning on selling the home do I inform my half brother or, if I just plan on selling my half, does he need to be informed?
Asked on April 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 2 years ago | Contributor
1) An owner of a home has no obligation to pay rent for its use or occupancy; all owners have a right to use and occupy the home. You could live there without paying rent, as he could, too.
2) It is unclear why you believe you own 70% and your sibling only 30%, unless your late brother (from whom you inherited) had a will to that effect: otherwise, if you both inherited from your brother as his siblings, would get equal (50-50) ownership. The law does not give a half-sibling a smaller share than a full one: if you inherit as a sibling, you get a sibling's share.
3) If you own as tenants in common (and not as joint tenants with right of survivorship, or JTROS), you should be able to sell your share without his knowledge or consent.
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