What are a co-owner’s rights upon sale if the other co-owner almost never contributed to the payment of the mortgage or upkeep of the property?

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What are a co-owner’s rights upon sale if the other co-owner almost never contributed to the payment of the mortgage or upkeep of the property?

I purchased a home 30 years ago with my sister-in-law; she is on the deed and on the mortgage. However, after 2 years she refused to help me pay the mortgage. Now I’m ready to sell the house and she wants 12 1/2% of the selling price because that what the title show that she owns. Is she entitled to this amount? She never resided in the home.

Asked on October 23, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When it comes to jointly owned property, the general rule is that each co-owner is also responsible for their proportionate share of expenses, taxes and repairs. If the expenses are paid by one co-owner, the other co-owner must reimburse that person for their share. Further, if one co-owner pays for improvements to the property, typically the other co-owner must reimburse only for the lesser of the cost of the improvements or the increase in value of the common property.
However, to be certain of your rights, you should consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area. They can best advise you further after going over all of the details of your situation.


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