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Do a joint owner have rights to a property they abandoned and refuse to pay two years ago.

Chicago, IL |

This joint owner is my brother & he comes back to the house & puts his tools, gym equipment, shoes, clothes, and other personal belongings in the basement and in the garage. He has even put his car & bike in the garage for a week while he was out of town on vacation. He has not paid any of the household bills in over two years. He left with outstanding balances on a water bill, gas & electric bill, and several months of mortgage payments before moving out to get his own place just miles away from this house (I still live in the house). All my efforts to sell the house has failed including a short and conventional sale. 1yr ago we qualified for a loan modification but he refused to do his part I've asked him several times not to leave things at the house & he has ignored all of my requests

Attorney Answers 3


  1. As a joint owner he still remains joint owner and has joint owner access to the place


  2. A person's title to a property is not affected just because that person moves out. The failure of all people responsible to pay bills or keep the property in good condition could eventually lead to legal consequences that would affect the ownership interest of everyone on title.


  3. As long as he's still an owner he can do mostly what he wants. It doesn't sound like there is any equity left in the house and if your brother is being uncooperative about selling, you may want to see a bankruptcy or foreclosure defense attorney to see what your other options are in getting out from under this property. Best of luck.

    I hope that this answer helps you in a general sense, but it does not constitute legal advice, nor tax advice of any kind, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and myself or my firm.

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