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What if you want to sell your land but your co-owner doesn’t?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Land use and zoning

Co-ownership of real property can make it more accessible. You may not have enough liquid capital on hand to offer a competitive purchase price or provide a down payment. Buying with a friend or co-worker could help you take advantage of a great real estate investment opportunity.

On the other hand, maybe you and your college roommate decided to buy a home together after graduation because it was cheaper than trying to rent separately. You may have even inherited the family cabin jointly with your siblings or your cousins when your parents or grandparent died.

Having co-owners means that you have less financial responsibility and fewer maintenance obligations than you would if you had sole ownership of the property. However, you will have to secure the approval of all of your co-owners if you want to sell the property. What happens when you don’t agree about the timing of a property sale?

You can initiate a partition action

The Virginia civil courts have special proceedings available for those who are joint owners of real estate. A partition action is a civil claim where you ask a judge to order the sale of a property, divide the property among multiple co-owners or compel your co-owners to buy you out so that you don’t have any more financial or upkeep obligations.

When you have attempted to cooperate with your co-owners but find yourself at an impasse, you don’t have to let others determine your financial future. Your options are not just to make a change for your own well-being or to suffer the mutual ownership relationship. You can also ask the courts for help.

A partition action can be the best solution. Judges can help divide your ownership interest. Although you don’t necessarily control the outcome of a partition action, it can be better to ask the courts to intervene than to remain beholden to other people as a co-owner of real property.

Whether the judge orders the sale of the property or divides it into multiple smaller parcels, you will no longer have to worry about the challenges of owning property jointly with someone who does not agree about its management or upkeep. Understanding the different legal solutions available for property owners in Virginia can help you overcome challenges related to land or residential real estate holdings or move forward with a real estate transaction despite the opposition of your co-owner.