What are my rights regarding co-owned property and expenses?

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What are my rights regarding co-owned property and expenses?

My mother passed 10 years ago and my father just passed this year. The house is paid off and they left it to the 3 of us. My brother and sister now live there and pay the bills and taxes, although they want me to help with taxes this year. This, even though I do not live there and have a house of my own that I pay taxes on. They aren’t planning on selling. What do I do about my part 1/3 of house? They say that I can’t get anything unless they sell it.

Asked on July 3, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can force them to sell: when the co-owners of real estate cannot decide what to do with it, one (or more) of the owners can bring a type of legal action traditionally called an action "for partition" (your state may have a different name for it) in which you ask the court to order the sale of the property. The law doesn't force you to stay owner of or invested in property against your will; the court can order that the property be sold, and that the proceeds of the sale, less costs of sale and paying off any mortgage(s) (or HELOCS, liens, etc.) be distributed among the owners. The other owners could settle the case by buying you out; since a settlement reduces costs substantially, it would be worth it to you to accept a voluntary buy-out at a discount.


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