If I own a house with my2 brothers and I want to sell, what are my options if one or both don’t also want to sell?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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If I own a house with my2 brothers and I want to sell, what are my options if one or both don’t also want to sell?

I am the middle brother. My older brother has been living in my house that was left to us by my deceased mother. My older brother shows no signs of selling or buying me out; he has moved in his pregnant girlfriend. I want out before he marries her. What are my options, if any? I would like the house sold and proceeds split 3 ways.

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The siblings who want to sell have the right to pursue what is known as a "partition" action. This is a legal remedy available to co-owners of property when they cannot agree as to ownership matters; typically whether or not to sell the property. A partition allows for the division of property among the co-owners if it can be physically divided. However, where division would be impracticable (as in your situation - a single family house) a court would order a "sale in lieu of partition" and an equitable division of the proceeds among the joint owners.  Before doing so however, the court would permit one co-owner to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner(s) for fair market value.

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