If a brother and sister own a house jointly and are fighting over the mortgage, bills etc., can one sue the other for possession of the house?

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If a brother and sister own a house jointly and are fighting over the mortgage, bills etc., can one sue the other for possession of the house?

And if one party wishes to walk away from the mortgage, what are the repercussions?

Asked on December 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When co-owners of property, either real or personal, cannot agree as to ownership matters the law provides a remedy known as "partition". In a partition action, the court will order the division of the property.
However, in a case in which division is impractical, such as you have here - a single family dwelling, the court will order a sale in lieu of partition. Accordingly, the property will be put on the open market and sold for fair market value; the sale proceeds will then equitably divided among the co-owners. First, however, if any party wants to keep the house they can offer to buy out the other owner. If both parties want the premises, then the property is put up for sale to a 3rd party.
 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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