How does a person get bought out or sell their house when they leave a relationship but the other homeowner still lives on the house?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How does a person get bought out or sell their house when they leave a relationship but the other homeowner still lives on the house?

An unmarried couple own a home
together they break up and 1 person
moves out. How does that person get
the one still occupying the home to
either buy him out or sell the house?

Asked on January 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When co-owners cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides a remedy known as "partition”. This allows for the division of the property among the owners. Accordingly, if a property can be physically divided a judge will so instruct. If, however, division would be impracticable (such as in the situation of a single family house), a court would order a "sale in lieu of partition". This allows for the sale of the property with an equitable division of the proceeds among the owners. However, first the court would permit one of the co-owners to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner at fair market value.

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