How can I get my co-owner to either sell or buy me out?

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How can I get my co-owner to either sell or buy me out?

My ex-partner and I purchased a home together and she has lived there and paid for it since we split. I would like out but don’t know my rights. Since I’ve moved out of the property 2 1/2 years ago, I’ve offered financial support in which she has refused. I’ve offered to give her my half of the property and pay closing costs and I’ve also offered to take ownership of it. She is not willing to do either. Her parents are involved as they are paying the mortgage and so is her new girlfriend. She does not allow me on the property and doesn’t seem to want to work with me. I feel like she might try to say that I abandoned the property.

Asked on August 17, 2011 Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since you have made repeated attempts to resolve this situation I wouldn't worry about any abandonment claim (if one even exits in this situation). The fact is that when co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides a legal remedy. It is called "partition". This allows for the division of property among co-owners; any co-owner can file for such an action. Accordingly, if a property can be physically divided the court will so instruct; if division would be impracticable (e.g. in the instance of a single family house) a court would order a "sale in lieu of partition" with an equitable distribution of the proceeds among the co-owners.  Before doing so however, the court would permit one co-owner to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner at fair market value.

Note: Remember the division would be "equitable". Consequently, your ex-partner would get credit for any out-of-pocket expenses for the period of time in which you did not contribute.

At this point you should consult with a real estate attorney in your area.


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