I am bought a house with my ex fiance, the deed notes joint tenant with rights of survivorship, can he force me to sell?

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I am bought a house with my ex fiance, the deed notes joint tenant with rights of survivorship, can he force me to sell?

He left after 4 months. I have not restricted access to the home, I want to buy him out for what he would get if we sold, he wants to sell. Can he force me to sell my half

Asked on May 23, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There are certain circumstances where one party can force another party to sell a house that is jointly owned.  This usually happens when one party does not want to sell and the other can prove some financial hardship to the court where making mortgage payments becomes difficult.  However, in your case it appears that you would like to buy him out at market value which is a win win situation for both of you.  I suggest that you find an attorney (you can look for one here at attorneypages.com) to start to open up discussions regarding the property.  You should have a real estate broker come in to give you an idea of the fair market value and recent comparable home sales in the area.  You may even want to contact your bank or a mortgage broker about the financial aspect as well.  Make sure that you have done your homework and have the answers before he asks the questions.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When joint tenants can't go on owning a property together -- when one of the two wants out -- either one can file a lawsuit for "partition," asking the judge to divide the property.  In the case of a single house, there's no way to physically divide it, so sometimes a sale is the only alternative.  It might be wise to see if you can negotiate a buy-out at a fair price, first, and it might be worth his while to do that, since it would probably be the fastest and cheapest way for him to get his money.

You need to discuss all the facts of your case with a local real estate attorney.  One place to find the lawyer you need is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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