What is a co-owners right to receive reimbursement for taxes they paid on another co-owner’s behalf?

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2011

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What is a co-owners right to receive reimbursement for taxes they paid on another co-owner’s behalf?

My family has property that’s been in our family for about 80 years. We have recently discussed selling it because the taxes are high. There is just one problem, my dad has been paying taxes and my deceased aunt’s husband has not paid any and doesn’t want to pay any taxes. We understand that he is entitled to a part because of my aunt. We have a buyer for the property all we want is for him to pay his part in taxes and he refuses. He just wants to sit around and collect his part in the sale. Is there any way we can either withhold his part of the sale for failure to pay his part in taxes or sue him. What are our options?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If one tenant in common has been paying all of the property taxes on the parcel that is desired to be sold or more than his share based upon his or her ownership position in the parcel, that person has an "equitable lien" against the other co-tenant in common for reimbursement of monies paid on that person's behalf with accrued interest.

The way to resolve this issue assuming a contract with a buyer is reached and an escrow is established is for the person who has made the extra payments to submit a written demand into escrow for reimbursement of the property taxes with accrued interest to be paid out of the other owner's share of the proceeds. The written demand to escrow must be clear that the amount demanded from your deceased aunt's husband not be distributed to him from escrow.

Good luck.

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