Quiet Title & Partition Action
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.
Partition Actions Overview
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.
What Are Attorney Fees for a Partition Action?
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
What is a Quiet Title Action?
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.