If I have been living in my house for 35 years and paying the taxes/maintaining the house but my sister is 50% owner, can she force me to sell?

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If I have been living in my house for 35 years and paying the taxes/maintaining the house but my sister is 50% owner, can she force me to sell?

What are my rights?

Asked on December 21, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can force a sale no matter how long that you have been living there or what you have paid for. When owners of jointly held property cannot agree on ownership matters the law provides a legal remedy called "partition". Basically, this allows for the division of the property. However when division is impractical, such as in the case of a single family home, the court will order its sale. The proceeds are then equitably distributed; therefore you would in all liklihood be given financial consideration for the taxes/maintenance that you have paid for the past 35 years. That having been said, the court will give the owner who does not want to sell the right to purchase the house for fair market value before it is put on the market and offered to the general public.
At this point, you should consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area; they can best advise you further.


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