What are a co-owner’s rights to force a sale?

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What are a co-owner’s rights to force a sale?

My father co-signed a mortgage for my sister and her husband. Reviewing the county assessor’s site, he is listed as 50% on the deed, with my sister and her husband listed as 25% owners each. He is currently living in the house but the living situation is becoming untenable. It appears that my sister and her husband cannot refinance the home on their own. What are my father’s rights with respect to forcing a sale of the home to get him out from under the mortgage so that he can find another home? Are there other options?

Asked on May 28, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In a situation where co-owners of property (real or personal) cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides the remedy of "partition". In a partition action, if a property can be equally divided, the judge will instruct that it be done. If division is impractical (as in the case of a house), then the court will order a sale with the proceeds to be equitably distributed. First, however, any owner who wants to keep the property will have the chance to buy out the other owner for fair market value. Otherwise, the property will be offered for sale to the public.


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