If you find yourself in a disagreement with a co-owner of a real estate property in California and no longer wish to continue the co-ownership, you have the option to either sell the property or divide it based on the terms you agreed upon. For some people, a negotiation or mediation will do, but for others, it may be more helpful to file a partition action.
A partition action
A partition action is a legal recourse available in California to resolve real estate disputes among co-owners of property following California Code of Civil Procedure Section 872.010. You can use this action for all types of properties, including residential, commercial and vacant land.
Types of partition actions
You can file a partition action in three ways, that is, partition in kind, partition by sale and partition by appraisal. Partition in kind involves physically dividing the property or assigning exclusive use and possession to its different parts to the co-owners.
In partition by sale, the court orders the sale of the property and divides the proceeds among co-owners based on their percentage of ownership. On the other hand, partition by appraisal occurs when an appraiser determines the fair market value for each portion of the property. Each co-owner then can purchase or sell their share based on this value, with the freedom to transact with anyone, including themselves.
What’s needed in a partition action
If you decide to file a partition action, you need to prepare a complaint that clearly articulates your ownership stake in the property, identifies all co-owners involved and specifies the type of partition they are seeking (i.e., partition by sale, in kind or by appraisal). Also, include any relevant evidence, such as property deeds or title documents.
Next, you must have all co-owners personally served with a copy of the complaint and summons to notify them of the partition action. From here, the court will schedule a hearing to determine the best course of action for the partition. While the case is ongoing, it’s important to continue paying any property taxes or insurance premiums associated with the property to maintain its value and avoid penalties.
It is a fact that a partition action can be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, it may also be the best option for resolving disputes over co-owned property. If you are considering filing a partition action in California, knowing your rights and the legal intricacies that may arise during the process is an added advantage.