and Your Family
Can You Sell a House if the Other Borrower Does Not Want To?
Subject to a mortgage or other lien on the property, generally a homeowner can sell their house whenever they want to. However, if you own the property with another person, selling the property may be much more complicated. Neither you nor your co-owner can sell the property whenever you want to. You both must agree to sell it. You may even have challenges selling your interest property. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to sell property you co-own with someone else, but the other person does not, you may wonder can you sell a house if the other borrow does not want to? Yes, you can. However, as an experienced New York estate lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates can explain, the process can be complicated if you and your co-owner cannot agree on an out-of-court solution.
To avoid forcing a sale, your co-owner can agree to purchase you interest in the house or you can sell your interest to someone besides you co-owner. The problem with the first option is that your co-owner may not have the means to buy you out. The problem with the second option is that generally a stranger would not want to purchase a part interest in a house.
If an out-of-court solution is not possible, then you can go to court to force a sale. Under NY Real Prop Actions L § 900 et seq, if you co-own property with another person you may maintain an action for partition of the property. Partition refers to the court determining the interest of each person and physically dividing the property into separate parcels. Each of the co-owners will gain 100% ownership in one of the parcels.
For example, the court might be able to divide property that includes several acres of unimproved or wooded land by simply dividing the acreage in half. The court might also be able to divide a house that can be easily converted into two separate apartments. In both of these cases the court would likely order partition. The parties could then do whatever they want with their own individually owned parcels. To discuss your property would meet the requirements for partition, contact an experienced estate attorney serving New York.
If the court determines that a partition cannot be made without great prejudice to the owners, then the court will order a public sale of the property. The parties would then split the proceeds from the sale in accordance with their respective interest in the property. For example, if a house could not be easily divided into two apartments, the court would determine that selling it would be the best option.
As an experienced estate attorney in New Yok will explain, the issues of co-ownership and selling the property can be impacted by whether or not the house has a mortgage. Being a co-owner and being a co-borrower are separate issues. If you force a sale through an action for partition, you will get your name off the deed and you will no longer owner the property. However, the sale of the property would be subject to the mortgage. Any proceeds from the sale would first go to satisfying the mortgage. The remaining will be divided between the former co-owners. Depending on the amount owed on the mortgage and the market, it’s possible that little or no money will be left over after the mortgage is paid.
Selling a home that has a co-owner can be complicated. If the house has a mortgage, the legal issues can be more complicated. It is critical that you contact an experienced estate attorney serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates who can help ensure that your interests are protect throughout the process of forcing a sale. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Suffolk County, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and Westchester County.