What happens when co-owners can’t agree on the sale ofa property?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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What happens when co-owners can’t agree on the sale ofa property?

Mother quit claim deeded residence in WA to 3 siblings as joint tenants; now rental property. 2 siblings want to sell; 1 sibling is unwilling to sell. Will we have to take third sibling to court and hire attorney, what options do we have?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Washington


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your will want to consider the possibility of "partition". This is a legal remedy employed when 2 co-owners of property cannot agree on the running of the property. Either the court will instruct that the property be divided as per each owner's interest or, where division is impractical (as in the case of a single family dwelling), a court would instruct that the property be sold with the proceeds to be equitably split among the owners. However, before a sale would be ordered, the party not seeking the partition (i.e. the one who doesn't want to sell) would have the chance to buy out the filing party's interest in the property at fair market value. 

You really need to consult directly with a real estate attorney as to all of this. However, the fact of the matter is the a partition action can be both costly and time-consuming.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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