What to do if I’m the co-owner of an inherited house and my brother, who is the other co-owner, wants me to pay back rent from the last 15 years?

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What to do if I’m the co-owner of an inherited house and my brother, who is the other co-owner, wants me to pay back rent from the last 15 years?

It was not stated in the Will but he wants me to pay. Do I have to?

Asked on April 6, 2013 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No you do not, absent an exisiting agreement to the contrary. One owner cannot force another co-owner to pay rent. That having been said, oneowner can force a sale of jointly owned property via a legal remedy known as "partition" (that is unless the other owner can afford to buy out their share for fair market value). Then, upon its sale, each owner would get an equitable share of the proceeds. This means that if one owner put in money to maintain and/or improve the proeprty, a court could provide that that owner get reimbursed for such expensess and then the sale proceeds would be spilt.


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