Most real estate transactions don’t involve the courts. Pennsylvania property owners sell, buy and refinance their properties while working with real estate professionals rather than legal professionals much of the time.
However, some people do need legal help when handling their real estate. Someone inheriting property may need to wait for the probate courts to transfer ownership. People dealing with a boundary dispute may need a judge to settle the matter.
Those who jointly own property with another person or several other people may rely on the courts for assistance.
Why do people file partition actions?
Sharing ownership of a property means splitting the costs and the other responsibilities while sharing the benefits of property ownership. Unfortunately, sometimes one person has to invest more time or money in joint ownership than the other owners. Other times, the arrangements may have worked for years until one co-owner falls on a period of personal hardship.
A partition action is a legal means of helping someone who needs to change their co-ownership arrangements without the support of co-owners. When you need to make a big change, your co-owners may not agree.
Perhaps you would like to take the money that you invested in a property and use it to start a business or invest in a different kind of real estate. Maybe as you have gotten older you can no longer fulfill the maintenance obligations for the property without hiring a professional.
What a partition action can do
If the other party doesn’t agree, you may feel trapped. However, you can request a partition action in the civil courts. A Pennsylvania judge has the authority either to split a parcel of vacant land into multiple parcels or to order the sale of the property. In some cases, your co-owner may be able to refinance and buy you out of the property rather than listing it for sale.
Although going to court to handle a joint investment isn’t ideal, it is better than trying to continue joint ownership when you no longer agree about what to do with the property. Learning more about your rights as a property owner, like the right to split the property via partition action, can help you make use of the laws intended to protect you.