Co ownership dispute

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Co ownership dispute

I bought a house with my boyfriend 15 years ago; we stayed for another 5 years. I moved and started to rent. He wanted to live there. He did for a year and then rented it out by the room. He kept one room and the garage for his storage and then started to rent the rooms to various people. I begged him to sell it or refinance my name out of it or rent out the entire house. So, hes paid for repairs and managed these various renters. Now the house has doubled in value. If you take the value minus what is owed minus half of all major repairs, my portion would be 65k, minimum. He only wants to give me 30-40k. I don’t know what to do. I am very disabled. I’m the one who is the primary lean holder as I had good credit. I feel confused.

Asked on October 14, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If 50-50 owners, you are are entitled to half of any proceeds left when the house is sold after paying costs of sale and paying off any mortgages and liens. The key is, however, you only have a right to the proceeds--to your share of the "equity"--when and if the house is sold: you cannot make a co-owner write you a check for your share (though he may offer or choose to).
You can force the sale of the house, if you want the money from it but the other owner does not want to sell. When the owners of real estate cannot agree as to what to do with it, one of them can bring a kind of lawsuit traditionally called an action "for partition" (though your state may have a different name for it) in which the court can order the sale of the house and division of the proceeds. Such a lawsuit will likely cost you several thousand dollars, assuming you hire an attorney (which is recommended; this can be a complex legal action for a nonlawyer to bring) and take many months. It would often be worth taking a lesser amount to avoid the cost, time, and effort of a lawsuit. The question which only you can answer is how much less would be worth it to you? For example, if getting $40k without having to bring a lawsuit and waiting maybe a year for the money worth $65k later, after a lawsuit? That is the calculation you have to make.


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