How can I take 100 owner ship of a property I own 50 of?

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How can I take 100 owner ship of a property I own 50 of?

Me and my roommate co-own a trailer and pay lot rent to our landlords. I pay $100 of the utilities, insurance and taxes. He pays the rent/payments on the trailer. Recently he’s been starting to deal drugs out of our co-owned humble abode and I do not agree with it If he gets arrested can I take full ownership of the home? I don’t like this foot traffic to my house or the fact he’s dealing drugs out of our house and giving these druggies little tours of our home. I don’t want to be a target of robbery, vandalism or even be arrested because he might say the drug stuff is mine or something crazy like that. This is not just an assumption, I have fully witnessed him selling weed, pills and home rolled cigarettes and he has admitted those things to me as well. If I get him arrested can I then take full ownership of the house and finally rid of this roommate disaster?

Asked on September 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

His ownership of the home is completely separate from any criminal ats he may commit: the one does not affect the other. Even if he is arrested, convicted, and jailed, he'll still own 50% of the home: being convicted, etc. does not deprive someone of their property.
Try to either buy him out or have him buy you out voluntarily: that's the easiest, surest way to get ownership. Even if you have to pay him somewhat more than you'd like, or sell out at a discount, it may be worth doing. If he won't agree, you can bring a legal action (lawsuit), commonly called an action for "partition," to get a court order requiring that the home be put up for sale and the two of you then split any proceeds or equity left after paying any loans/mortgages and paying the costs of sale. Note that this legal action will typically cost several thousand dollars if you get a lawyer's help (strongly recommended) and can take many months; if the equity in the trailer is not that great, rather than go through that cost and spend all that time still associated with a drug dealer, you may wish to simply give your share of the trailer to him and get out. Remember: if the police find drugs in a home you own, you could end up being blamed for them and be arrested, too.  While you'd likely eventually be acquitted or have the case dismissed if you are innocent, do you want to go through that? And be exposed to violence from his clients? Simply cutting your losses may be the best course.
If you do want to try to force a sale--since that is the remedy the law provides when the owners of a home cannot agree with what to do to or about it--as stated, ideally hire a lawyer. If you do not want do to so, get a copy of your state's rules of court and also ask the clerk's office of the county chancery court for instructions on filing an action like this.


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