What are my rights as co-owner if the other co-owner has left the property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights as co-owner if the other co-owner has left the property?

I own a home with my mother. We are both on the loan and deed. She has left the property 4 months ago and I have been making all the payments myself. She has filed Chapter 7 on all her credit cards. I have tried to ask her to sign the quick deed to take her name off the house but she refuses. We are not on talking terms so my sister has been the mediator. I can no longer afford the home on my own so my next option is doing a short sale. If she doesn’t sign the short sale documents what are options or what can I do legally to remove her from the deed since she has left the house.

Asked on January 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can't legally remove her from the deed: there is no law requiring an owner to occupy or use property, and an owner leaving property does not impair her ownership or rights. All you can do is, if you and she cannot voluntarily work matters out between you, is to bring a legal action (lawsuit) in county court for "partition": that is, for a court order requiring that the property be sold and the proceeds, after paying the costs of sale and paying off any mortgage, taxes, liens, etc., be divided between the owners (your mother and you). This is the law's remedy when owners cannot agree as to what to do with the property. In this case, if you paid more expenses than your mother, you may be able to get the court to order that you be reimbursed for those extra expenses out of the proceeds. Speak to a real estate attorney to explore this option.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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