how can i get this house without paying anyone?

UPDATED: Jul 5, 2009

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how can i get this house without paying anyone?

My sister has been living with my mother for 30 years, in jan of 2008 my mother was put in a nursing home her house was already paid for but she had put the house in all 4 of her children’s names in 2006 and we each own 25%. she continues to live there but the house is for sale. last year she paid the taxes and the homeowners insurance in lieu of any rent as per our verbal agreement. The house has been listed since August of 2008 and recently has had many showings, the three of us are trying to sell this house and have offered it to my sister but she doesn’t want to buy it she insists that she is entitled to it all since she lived there and paid the taxes, altho she only paid them for 2008, my mother had paid all house expenses prior to entering the home, even tho that was the agreement, we are concerned that when it comes time to sign the final papers after it is sold she will refuse, is there any way she can just take full ownership of this house without any recourse by us? She has been talking about squatters rights, and we think she may be getting advice is this a concern?

Asked on July 5, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


GW, Member, Michigan and Hawaii Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I'm not licensed in your jurisdiction and this matter seems pretty complicated, so I'll start by strongly suggesting that you and your siblings consult a lawyer who is licensed. Basically, you are engaged in one of the classic legal conflicts: cotenancy. Under the laws of most states, you and your siblings would be liable to your sister for whatever taxes and insurance she paid under a legal theory called contribution. On the other hand, under the laws of most states, you all have the right to use the property. You could even move in with her in many cases. You should talk to a lawyer before tryinig this, though. I'm unaware of any sort of "squatters rights" that arise from a cotenant living in the property in which she has an interest.


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