I co-own a property with a relative who has threatened a partition action. I have agreed to sell in order to avoid litigation. However, I am thinking I should not have to pay half for the inspections and home improvements needed to sell the house. What are my rights in this situation? Thank you in advance.
As a co-owner, and absent an agreement to the contrary, you are usually burdened with the one half of the reasonable and ordinary expenses of sale. There are some circumstances that call for a different rule, but your short narrative does not present any such facts. There are other credits and charges that can be allocated between the parties based upon who historically paid expenses, who had the benefit of the property, and whether either party was responsible for causing damage to the property. If litigation is pending, it is usually a matter of negotiation between the parties as regards who pays for what expense. You are not necessarily required to authorize improvements to the home for purposes of sale. The issue becomes whether the "improvements" are more or less necessary for the reasonable management of the property.
Brad C. Brereton
In all cases it is advisable to consult an experienced attorney. Nothing stated herein is intended as legal advice for your specific situation, and you should use the information provided solely for the purpose of choosing an experienced attorney for the problems presented.
The co-owners of the co-owned property ultimately share in the costs of the partition & sale action. Thus, you should cooperate. Under California law, upon granting judgment partitioning by sale of each property, the court will order that the proceeds of the sale pay the encumbrances thereon, and the net proceeds thereof then be divided between the parties in an equitable amount to be determined by the court, in addition to allowance, accounting, contribution, or other compensatory adjustment among the parties according to principles of equity, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 872.140.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.