If my brother and I inherited our parents’ house and he lives there, can he force me to sell my half of the property to him?

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If my brother and I inherited our parents’ house and he lives there, can he force me to sell my half of the property to him?

My real estate agent said the mortgage payments he’s making could be considered rent. Is this accurate? Is there a way to formalize this so he can’t take advantage of the situation?

Asked on March 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Please speak with an attorney on the matter and not a real estate agent.  You own the house with your brother, correct?  You and he are jointly responsible for the debts and liabilities.  Now, you could indeed enter in to an agreement that in exchange for his exclusive occupancy he pay the entire mortgage, taxes - what ever - in lieu of rent. And you should do something like that so that there are no misunderstandings.  If there are major repairs  - like a roof - then you should share equally as tenants never fix those sort of things.  Good luck. 


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