what are my rights as co-owner of duplex

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what are my rights as co-owner of duplex

I own a duplex but added someone to the deed. I moved from the property and my
ex moved his sister into the vacant unit. I need to move back to my property and
need to know what my rights are. His sister does not have a lease and is not
paying market rent. I am the sole person on the loan but he is on the deed. He
will not sign for me to sell the property even though i have agreed to give him
half of the proceeds. I have also offered to buy him out and he still will not
agree to any compromise.

Asked on December 29, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are both on the deed, you both have equal rights to live in, use, possess, etc. the duplex--including equal rights to either occupy it personally or to move a guest in. So she may live there, if the co-owner lets her; and you may live there, too, and neither he nor she can legally keep you out. (Of course, the home may not be large enough or set up properly for two diffeent people to live there; therefore, as practical matter, this may not be viable.)
Since you and your co-owner are at an impass and cannot agree as to what to do, your recourse is to bring an action "for partition." This is a lawsuit brought in chancery court (a divison or part of county court) which seeks a court order requiring the sale of the unit and the distribution (after paying any costs of sale and mortgage) of the proceeds of the sale. That is the law's remedy for when the two owners of a property disagree as to what to do with it--to order its sale, so the two of them can then go their own way. If you wish to explore this option, consult with a real estate attorney.


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