Can one co-owner force another owner to vacate the premises?

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Can one co-owner force another owner to vacate the premises?

I have been living in a house now for 2 years that my father owns. When he passes he plans on putting the title of the house in mine and my sister’s names. However, she has already said she is kicking me out when this happens. Is any of this legal?

Asked on August 7, 2011 New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

One co-owner does not have the right to remove another co-owner (unless their physical safety or the like is at issue). Instead, what the co-owner who wants the removal can do, is to sue for a "partition". This is a legal remedy used when joint owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters. With such a suit, a court will either order a division of the property in question or a sale. If it is capable of being divided the court will so instruct (e.g. raw land). If however, dividing the property would be impractical (e.g. single family dwelling), then the court will order a sale in lieu of partition. However, first, either owner would be offered the opportunity of buying out the other owner's interest in the property (the price would be based on its fair market value).


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