Can I raise rent on my portion of co-owned house?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I raise rent on my portion of co-owned house?

I am co-owner of a house with 2 siblings which we got through inheritance. My 2 siblings have been charging less than market rent against my wishes to their adult children who are living in the house. There is either no formal lease agreement in place or they are on a month-to-month lease agreement. Can I raise the rent on my 1/3 ownership of the house? The house is not under rent control.

Asked on January 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there is a discrete or separate part of the house which you control, you may set whatever rent you want on it. But if that's not the case, you can't raise the rent, because any owner may let any person stay in property they control under any terms they want--i.e. they could even let their adult children stay there for free. So if the three of you jointly control the entire property, you can't set a higher rent, because they could let the children stay there for less or no rent. You may need to see if your siblings will buy you out at an acceptable price if you don't want this situation to continue; if not, you could bring a legal action called an "action for partition" to force the sale of the house, after which the proceeds (if any) after paying costs of sale, any mortgages, and any other liens will be divided among the owners. If you wish to explore or consider that option, consult with an attorney.

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 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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