Can I Sell the Half of the House That I Own?
It is said that homeownership is the American dream. What about co-owning a house with someone? While for some owning a home with a sibling, cousin, friend, or business partner, or anyone other than a spouse may work out very well, for others it may prove to be problematic. One problem that may develop is the desire for one owner of the house to sell it, while the other owner wishes to hold on to it. This may lead the owner who wants to sell to wonder if they can sell the half of the house that they own. If you and your co-owner cannot agree on the future of the property, contact an experienced Palm Beach County partition lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With decades of experience representing clients in complicated transactions, we are here to help.
Under Florida law, an owner cannot be forced to keep property that they want, but an owner can be forced to sell their property. If neither of the co-owners will agree on selling their interest to the other, or if the owner who wants to sell cannot find a nonowner buyer to sell their interest to, the only other option is to go to litigate the issue in court in an action for partition. With a partition action, the petitioner requests that the court to partition the property. Partitioning amounts to dissolving the co-owning relationship. This can be done in two ways. The court can order the property to be divided or to be sold.
As an experienced Palm Beach County partition lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates will explain, while the best option for selling the property without getting the court involved is for one owner to sell their interest to another owner, selling to a nonowner is another possibility. Finding someone who is willing to purchase only a part interest in a house may prove challenging. People typically are not willing to share ownership in a house with someone they don’t know.
If the parties cannot each a resolution on how to proceed with the property, then going to court to resolve the issue may be the only option. In Florida, an action for partition is a lawsuit during which the court makes a determination as to how to sever the interests of co-owners of property. While an action for partition can be initiated where the relationship between co-owners has broken down and is contentious, it can also be initiated as a strategy for having an objective third party sever the co-owning relationship in an orderly, fair fashion. An action for partition generally will have one of two outcomes: a division of the property or a sale of the property.
When a partition complaint is filed, the court will ask a disinterested third party commissioner to conduct a review of the property to determine if it is divisible. While they will look at the physical aspects of the property such as its size, whether it includes a structure such as a house, or whether it is unimproved land, it will also take other factors into consideration. For example, the court will consider how long it has been in the family and its sentimental value to any of the owners, how the property is being used, and the degree to which the owners have each contributed to maintaining the property. FL Stat § 64.209
However, the court is more likely to order division of unimproved land than property that includes a house. To learn more about the types of property that cannot be divided, contact an experienced partition attorney serving Palm Beach County.
If division of the property is not possible, the property will be sold. The court will employ a commissioner to determine the property’s value and get the best price at an open market sale. FL Stat § 64.210. The proceeds will be distributed to the co-owners based on their share of ownership of the co-owned property. Expenses and fees will be deducted from the proceeds.
If you have property in the Palm Beach County area that you co-own and want to sell your interest, contact an experienced partition attorney in Palm Beach County at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. While the process can be complicated, we will help ensure that your interests are protected. Contact us at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients throughout the following areas: Palm Beach County, Dale County, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.