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Can I force my property co-owners to sell?

There are times when co-owners of a California property disagree on whether to sell or keep it. It might be a couple who bought the home together but now want a divorce. It could be one of several siblings or relatives who co-own an inheritance and one of them has decided he or she would rather have the money. Or it could be two or more business partners who bought an office or apartment building together but are dissolving the partnership and want to sell the property and move on or retire.

Whatever the situation, there are bound to be emotions involved, but hopefully, both or all sides are willing to work together for the good of the whole. If joint owners cannot agree on dividing the property, however, a sale can be forced, according to SFGate.

Generally, co-owners can sell their portion of the property to another person. They cannot sell the shares of other co-owners, however, and they cannot force the others to sell without first filing a lawsuit for partition. A court-ordered partition is something to avoid if possible because the process may just be more expensive than the value of the property and it can take some time to reach a resolution. It can also turn what may already be a delicate relationship into an all-out battle.

All court costs, together with fees of the selling agent/auctioneer and attorneys must be paid out of the proceeds. Those costs are in addition to paying off any existing liens or mortgages on the property. If there is any money left over, that is what the co-owners must then divide between themselves, based on each person’s ownership percentage in the property.

This information about the court-ordered partitioning of a property is general in nature. It is not meant to be considered as legal advice.

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