What is the law regarding dual ownership and splitting the profits from a sale?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the law regarding dual ownership and splitting the profits from a sale?

My brother and I co-own a home. About 3 years ago he moved out and we agreed that I pay him $10,000 to buy him out. Now, if I sell my home, can he force me to split today’s profits? He moved out, hasn’t made any payments in 3

years and we had an agreement.

Asked on June 17, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Did you pay him the $10,000? If you did, and IF your agreement was in writing (since agreements regarding the sale or other disposition of real estate must be in writing to be legally enforceable, under what is known as the "statute of frauds"), then you could enforce that agreement against him: force him to transfer his interest in the house to you (if he has not done so already) and also refuse to pay him the share of the proceeds.
However, if the agreement was not in writing it is not enforceable, and it would also not be enforceable if you violated your own obligations (such as by not paying him). In that case, he would be entitled to his share of the proceeds as a co-owner of the real estate.

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