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Your rights when a co-owner doesn’t want to sell your land

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Real Estate Disputes |

Your investment property has sat vacant for years if not decades.  When you first discovered the parcel or had the opportunity to purchase it, you did not have enough capital on your own to comfortably make the purchase.

Maybe you turned to a co-worker, a close friend or even a sibling to help you buy the investment property.  Every year, you split the taxes and maintenance responsibilities for the land with the understanding that eventually you would sell it.

Given the demand for housing and property in the current real estate market, you may feel like it is time to list the parcel and cash in on that investment you made so many years ago.  What can you do if your investment partner doesn’t want to sell?

Get an informal valuation to convince them of the timing

People often mistakenly view real estate prices as stable.  They assume that home and land values will continue to increase gradually over the years, meaning that the longer they hold the property, the greater the return when they eventually sell it.

However, the real estate market does not just grow.  It also retracts, shrinks and goes through booms and busts.  Waiting until you reach a certain age to sell might mean that the market is soft and you can’t get a good price.

Showing how strong the demand is now and how competitive prices have been in recent months by showing the sale price of other, similar parcels to your investment partner could convince them that the time to sell is now.

Take legal action so you can sell your share of the property

If the other owner is resistant to your idea to list the property and capitalize on the current demand for real estate listings, then you might consider going to court.  You likely don’t want to force them to sell, but you could potentially convince a judge to grant you a partition order.

This process splits the property between you so that each of you now has your own, separate parcel.  Your friend who invested with you can hold on to the parcel they receive after the partition action, while you have the opportunity to sell your parcel as you see fit.

Partition actions and other forms of real estate litigation often require an understanding of Pennsylvania law and of any contract between you and your partner.  Reviewing all the necessary statutes and documentation can help you decide the best way to resolve a dispute about a jointly-owned investment property.


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