Family members who co-own real property without an ownership contract in place or business owners who failed to properly document their specific co-ownership rights and obligations have the right to file a partition action. Partition refers to the division of real property among co-owners, but this remedy is not available to community property co-owners. It’s worth noting that this legal action is generally a no-fault proceeding. This means that a co-owner has no defenses to raise unless the other co-owners have waived their right to file a partition action.
Partition by sale, partition by physical division, and partition by appraisal are the three types of partition provided by California state law. Partition by physical division usually applies to rural properties and undeveloped land. In the absence of a waiver, a partition by sale allows a co-owner to force a sale of the whole property even if the other co-owners don’t want to sell. A partition by appraisal allows one or more co-owners to buy the interest of the other parties at a specific value evaluated in a court-ordered appraisal; the parties must agree in writing to proceed with this type of partition.
Common issues that can arise in a partition action include damages ( when one or more co-owners have caused damage to the property or caused it to depreciate in value), offsets ( e.g. when only one co-owner has covered the expenses for the property), and landlord/tenant issues. This legal action should be filed with the assistance of a savvy and experienced real estate attorney in your area because it proceeds like a civil lawsuit. except there’s no right to a jury trial. The action begins with filing a partition complaint, which is then served on all named defendants. A judge will render a decision upon the determination of the interests of all parties involved and will also appoint a referee to oversee the entire partition process.
If you need to file or are involved in a partition action in the state of California, it’s in your best interest to retain a top-rated real estate attorney to protect your interests even if the action is settled prior to trial. Do not hesitate to get in touch with Stone & Salus LLP by calling 310-889-0233 or filling out the online contact form to set up a no-obligation consultation with one of the best real estate attorneys in California. who will expertly evaluate your partition case and give you sound legal advice free of charge.