How can I force a sale of property that I am a co-owner of?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can I force a sale of property that I am a co-owner of?

My sister and I inherited property from our father. It was agreed that after probate, we would sell the property so that I could recoup funeral expenses. Now she doesn’t want to sell and has allowed her daughter to move into the trailer that is on the property. What are my legal responsibilities and options?

Asked on July 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As long as the property is now in your names (and no longer in your father's name), then as a co-owner you can take action in this situation. When joint owners of property cannot agree on ownership matters, the law allows for a remedy known as "partition". It entails going before a judge who will order a division of the property, if practical. If not, such as in the case of a single family dwelling, then they will order that the property be sold and the proceeds distributed equitably. First however, the court will allow any owner who wishes to retain the property the right of "first refusal"; this means that they can offer to buy out the party for fair market value before it is offered to the public. That having been said, a partition action is expensive and time consuming. Consequently, you may want to inform the other owner of all of this. Possibly after having done so, they will be more amenable to try and work things out.

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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