If 2 people are named on a warranty deed as “Joint Tenants”, can one of them sell their “half” of the property without the approval of, or over the objection, of the other person?

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If 2 people are named on a warranty deed as “Joint Tenants”, can one of them sell their “half” of the property without the approval of, or over the objection, of the other person?

Asked on September 19, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Maine

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A joint tenant cannot bequeath, sell or otherwise transfer or encumber their share o the propert without the permission of all the other joint tenants. However, you may be able to petitoin a court for an "action in partition". This a a legal remedy that is employed when joint owners of property real or personal cannot agree as to ownership matters.
Partition allows for the division of property among co-owners. Accordingly, if a property can be physically divided the court will so instruct. If division would be impracticable e.g. in the case of a single family house the court will order a sale in lieu of partition and an equitable division of the proceeds among the co-owners. However, before doing so, the court would permit one co-owner to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner at fair market value.
At this point, you should consult directly with a real estate attorney in the area of where the property is located.


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