What to do when joint co-owners of real estatecan’t agree about the running of the property?

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What to do when joint co-owners of real estatecan’t agree about the running of the property?

My grandma passed 3 years ago and left her estate to my mom and 2 sisters. The Will states “share and share alike”. Does this leave decision making to a majority rule 2 out of 3 agree, or do all 3 need to agree?  There was also a provision that my parents were to live into the house and maintain it upon my grandma’s passing and my dad’s retirement. Mom and dad moved in the house this winter and it’s been nothing but a fight since with 1 of my mom’s sisters. We don’t have alot of money, and the sister does and she’s filed suit for rent against my folks.

Asked on August 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss and all the trouble surrounding your grandmother's death.  First, let me tell you that it is really very hard to answer this without reading the Will in its entirety.  You should take it to an attorney in your area for a consultation.  You can call around for their rates.  The paragraph about your parent's moving in and maintaining the house, did it state for how long?  Did it state that they were to pay rent or can the part that states they are to "maintain" it be looked at that way?  You need to be careful, though, if it needs some major repair like a roof or boiler, etc.  Your parents do not want to be caught paying for the whole thing.  As for how to make decisions on the property, I do not think that there is any hard and fast rule here.  If one party does not agree to something then they have the same rights as the party or parties that do.  I would really think about the possibility of selling the property and putting an end to the disagreements.  Money does funny things to people.  Good luck.


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