Can I charge my sibling rent for a home we inherited in which she is living?

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Can I charge my sibling rent for a home we inherited in which she is living?

My sibling and i inherited a home when my father passed away, she has been living in the home and plans on keeping it. Can I charge her rent for living in the home?

Asked on July 22, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A co-owner of real estate cannot be charged rent by the other owner, at least not unless they agree to be so charged. However, your situation seems more of an issue regarding the sale of the property. The fact is that in the case of jointly owned property, when owners can't agree as to ownership matters the law provides a remedy known as "partition" (as long as the property is now in both of your names). It entails going before a judge in court who will order a division of the property. If division is not practical, such as in the case of a single family dwelling, then the judge will order that the property be sold and the proceeds be equitably distributed. That having been said, the court will allow any owner who wants to retain the property the right of "first refusal", which means that they can offer to buy out the party for fair market value before it is offered for public sale. That having been said, a partition lawsuit is quite costly and time-consuming. Accordingly, you may want to inform your sister of all of this. Possibly after having done so, she'll be more agreeable to try and work things out.


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