What to do with real estateif one co-owner wants to sell but the other does not?

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What to do with real estateif one co-owner wants to sell but the other does not?

I own a condo with my ex-partner. We are on an adjustable rate mortgage and have past our 5 year arm. We have not refinanced because my ex-partner has ruined his credit and our unit has slightly depreciated (or we are even in price). I just want to know my rights.

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The  law provides a remedy for a situation such as this.  In cases where joint owners cannot agree on whether or not to sell a piece of real estate, the party seeking the sale can go to court and file an action for “partition”.  A partition can be accomplished by physical division, if possible.  However since this is a single-family home physical division isn't practical, accordingly a judge would order a "partition by sale".  Once the property is sold, the proceeds are distributed equitably to the owners. 

Note:  Before a sale would be ordered, typically the court would permit the non-filing co-owner(s) to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner for fair market value.


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