and Your Family
Can a Jointly Owned Property Be Sold by One Owner?
While there are a variety of reasons that individuals may co-own property such as purchasing it together as an investment, one of the most common ways that people come to own property jointly by inheriting it. For example, a parent may leave the family house to all their kids as tenants in common. This would mean that each child would one a percentage interest in the house. Typically the interests are equal, but they could be unequal. Siblings or other co-owners may not agree on what should happen to the property. Some may wish to keep the house for sentimental or investment reasons. Others may wish to sell it and use the cash for other their own personal reasons. That leaves the question: can a jointly owned property be sold by one owner? The short answer to the questions is yes. However, as an experienced New York estate lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates will explain, the process can be complicated.
Yes, a jointly owned property can be sold by one owner. The easiest way is for the parties involved to negotiate a resolution to the dispute. For example, those who wish to hold on to the property can agree to buy out the other co-owners.
For example, if a parent leaves the family home to her 5 children in equal shares, if 4 siblings would like to sell it, but one sibling want to keep it, the sibling can buy out the other 4 for a mutually agreeable price. The price might be the property’s appraised value, or it might be a different amount. In order for this option to work, the co-owner or co-owners who want to hold on to the property must have the means to buy out the others. If they do not have the cash to do so or are not able to secure financing then, this option may not work.
Another out-of-of court option would be for to sell your interest to a third party. As an experienced New York estate lawyer will explain, this may be a difficult option, particularly if the property is a family how. It is not likely that a third party who is a stranger would be willing to purchase a part interest in a family home. However, if the property is another type of property such as investment property or property that is easily divisible, sale to a third party is possible.
If the parties cannot negotiate an agreement as to what to do with the property and one owner still seeks to sell their interest, then another option is for the owner who seeks to sell to initiate an action for partition in court. An action for partition can result in the property being partitioned or the property being sold. NY Real Prop Actions L § 901 et seq.
Unless it appears to the commissioners appointed by the court that partition cannot be made without great prejudice to the owners, the commissioners will divide the property into distinct parcels and allot the parcels to the former co-owners according to the respective rights and interest of the former co-owners as determined by the court. The parties can then sell their parcel or do whatever they want with it. NY Real Prop Actions L § 921. To learn how the commissioners determine whether a partition is possible, discuss your case with an experienced estate attorney in New York.
If the commissioners determine that the property cannot be partitioned, then the court will order that it be sold and the proceeds distributed to the former owners.
Because of the value of real estate in New York, it is not unusual for co-owners to bicker over whether to sell it or keep it. When it comes to selling jointly owned property, to ensure that your interests are protected, discuss your case with an experienced estate attorney serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.