Sharing ownership of real property with someone else is an intentional decision. People buy property with friends, romantic partners and family members to reduce their housing costs or to generate income by repairing and reselling or possibly renting out the property to others. Countless real properties around California have two or more people on title, which typically means that the owners will have to reach agreements about any major changes to their property.
Unfortunately, co-owners may eventually find themselves disagreeing about what to do with real property. Maybe one of them wants to move out of the shared home or sell it, while the other one wants to remain there. Perhaps the issue is that one owner can no longer commit money or time to help maintain the property.
It is common for one owner to want to sell against the wishes of the other owners. A partition action is a civil response to the legal challenges created by mutual ownership scenarios where the parties no longer agree about the long-term future of the property. What happens when co-owners go to court for a partition action case?
The judge can help separate ownership interests
California civil court judges have numerous tools at their disposal to separate the financial interests of people who own real property jointly. A judge can split unimproved land into multiple parcels. They can order refinancing of the property in some cases to allow one owner to buy out another.
They could order the sale of the property or grant one owner a lien against the property as part of the process of taking their name off of the title. Any of these arrangements can help preserve everyone’s financial interest in the property while still separating the ownership.
Of course, many property owners find it nerve-wracking to face legal proceedings that can dramatically affect their interest in their most valuable assets without direct control over the outcome. For some people with joint ownership interests, filing a partition action will motivate negotiations and may lead to an amicable resolution between the parties involved outside of court.
Learning more about California rules about complex property ownership situations will help those trying to assert their rights and protect their real estate investments.