and Your Family
Steps to Partition a House
If you own property in New York such as a house, condo, or townhouse, subject to any encumbrances, typically you have the right to sell that property any time you want. However, if you co-own the property with others, selling the property or disposing of it in the manner of your choosing may be difficult. You and your co-owner(s) may disagree on whether to sell, whether to sell “as is”, whether to keep it and renovate it, or who should live in the property. Even if the co-owners get along, the best option for all co-owners might be to sever the joint ownership relationship. Through an action for partition, the court will end the co-owner relationship allowing each party to either cash out or end up with their own separate portion of the once co-owned property. If you co-own property with others and would like to sell your interest or divide your interest from your co-owner(s), contact an experienced New York estate lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With decades of experience representing clients in complicated estate matters, we can help you understand the steps to partition a house and represent you through the process.
- Steps to Partition a House
- Identify the Defendants
- File the Complaint
- Actual Partition
- Sale of Property
Once other options have been exhausted, the co-owner wishing to sell their share of co-owned property can petition the court. This is called an action for partition.
An action for partition is a type of litigation and is an adversarial process. The first step is to identify who must be sued. In addition, if the plaintiff received the property has an inheritance, the personal representative of the decedent must also be named as a defendant, unless the complaint is filed more than 18 months after the personal representative was appointed. NY Real Prop Actions L § 903.
To initiate a partition action, the petitioner must file a complaint with the appropriate court that describes the property involved. The complaint must also include the ownership shares and interests of all co-owners as well as any other property co-owned by the parties. NY Real Prop Actions L § 905. To ensure that you file the complaint with the appropriate court, discuss the matter with an experienced New York estate lawyer.
The court will render a judgement that the property should be partitioned or sold. The court will issue a judgement for partition only if determines that the property can be fairly divided. If dividing the property would cause hardship or prejudice to one or more of the co-owners, the judge will order a sale of the property. For example, if the property is a piece of farmland that is co-owned by 15 people. If the court divided it into 15 parcels, not only would the parcels be too small to be effective, some of the parcels would be landlocked. On the other hand, if that same farmland was owned by 2 people, it could easily be divided in half and each party would be able to make use of their portion. Typically, property that is farmland, a vacant lot, or otherwise unimproved land is easy to partition, while property that is a house is not.
If the court orders partition, the court will partition the property. The court will appoint independent commissioners to divide the property into distinct parcels and allot the parcels to the owners. NY Real Prop Actions L § 921
If the court orders sale, the property will be sold at public sale. The proceeds will be distributed to the parties whose rights and interests have been sold, in proportion thereto. Costs and expenses will be deducted from the proceeds. Liens will also be satisfied. NY Real Prop Actions L § 961
If you are a co-owner of a house, unimproved land, or any other type of real estate and want to sever your interests from those of your co-owners, contact an experienced estate attorney serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. While the process can be complicated, we will help you make the it as painless as possible under the circumstances. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, and Westchester County.