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It is fairly common for two or more people to buy real estate together. Whether it’s with a friend, a relative or a business partner, buying together can have its advantages when it comes to applying for a loan or dividing the down payment. Unfortunately, these relationships can ultimately sour and leave a co-owner with a strong desire to remove the other party from the title. Doing so is a little more complicated than one might imagine because property owner have important rights that Courts do not take lightly. The Court process to divide a property or force the sale of a property is called a Partition Action.
A partition action begins with one of the parties filing a lawsuit in court requesting the division or sale of the property. In some cases, such as with many acres of raw land, a court can simply divide the property equally to satisfy the parties’ desires. However, in most modern instances, the real estate in questions may have a house or some other structure on it that cannot be “equally divided.” In these cases, the court will order the sale of the property and for the proceeds to be divided according to the parties’ respective ownership interests.
A party does not need to have “cause” to force the sale of the property; it is a matter of property right in California to do so, even over the objection of the other party. This is an often misunderstood right of property owners, one party can typically force the other party to sell (through the Court). If the parties cannot agree on an appropriate procedure to sell the property, or one party is simply not cooperating, the Court can appoint a “receiver” to conduct the sale, which is done by Court Order. A receiver is an independent third party whose duty it is to liquidate assets.
It would be unfair for only one party to pay all the costs and fees associated with the sale of the property, so Courts divide the costs and fees between both parties based on their percentage interests. So, even though one party initiates the partition action, and may initially pay the fees, those fees can typically be reimbursed from the sale proceeds. However, unfortunately, co-owners sometimes make allegations against each other related to mismanagement of the property, embezzlement of rents, etc. and those related attorneys fees typically do not get reimbursed, or are discretionary for the judge. If you are the co-owner of a property and would like to learn more about your partition options, call our partition action attorneys today, we offer cost-effective solutions and a free case evaluation.
Quiet title actions are among the most common type of real estate litigation. A quiet title action is used to determine or challenge ownership interests in a property. They are used to establish clear title, remove unknown parties, or challenge anything clouding the title. Sometimes a quiet title action is a prerequisite to being able to get a loan or title insurance on a piece of property, as the title must be cleared before it can be insured, pledged, or transferred. There are too many reasons to list why quiet title actions are filed, but when successful, they typically result in a court order that establishes exactly which parties have a valid ownership interest in the property in question. If you are involved in a conflict over who owns a property or has a legitimate claim to it, a quiet title action may be appropriate.
The Orange County real estate litigators at McFarlin LLP have vast experience in both partition and quiet title actions. Having litigated so many of these types of lawsuits, we can generally give you a very good idea of how your claim will play out. If you would like a co-owner removed, a property divided, or to have your title cleared of improper clouds, call the real estate litigators at McFarlin LLP today for a free case analysis and evaluation. We focus on always providing premier legal services and cost-effective solutions for all your real estate problems. Call us today at (888) 728-0044.
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