What rights do I have if my name is on the deed to the house but not the loan?

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What rights do I have if my name is on the deed to the house but not the loan?

My sister and I inherited our mother’s house after her passing via her trust (50/50). She decided to put her name on the loan. Both of our names are on the deed. Our relationship soured and I want out of this housing situation. The house is being rented and the renter is paying the mortgage. I want my sister to buy me out of the house, yet she does not want to. What are my rights? Everything that is related to the house she excludes me from. Her and my father keep everything hush as if its one big secret. What are my options? I would like to find out how I can get what I am entitled to.

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Mitchell Sussman / Mitchell Reed Sussman & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A lawsuit for partition is the procedure for resolving this issue.  Such an action will force the sale of the

property and a division of proceeds.  You sister will likely not want this to happen, so go to an attorney have him send a letter explaining your position and give your sister a short fuse to decide whether she is willing to resolve the matter by cashing you out without resort to litigation.

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the fact that your sister had her name put on the mortgage does not affect your ownership rights. And since the renter is covering the mortgage payments she doesn't even appear to have a claim for reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses.  In a situation, where co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides a legal remedy known as "partition".

In a partition if a property can be physically divided the court will so instruct.  However, where division would be impracticable (as with a single family dwelling), the judge will order a sale in lieu of partition wherein there would be a sale of the property and an equitable division of the proceeds among the co-owners.  However, before it would be ordered, one co-owner would be permitted to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner at fair market value.


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