There are occasions when joint property ownership disputes may arise between co-owners during the co-ownership period. It doesn’t matter whether you entered the co-ownership willingly or not. It can be hard to avoid a dispute in certain circumstances. Hiring a real estate attorney can help co-owners of a property resolve disputes, however complicated they may be.
Joint Ownership in Real Estate
Simply put, joint ownership of a real estate property means that the land or immovable property is shared by more than one person. There are different types of joint ownership:
- Tenancy in Common (also known as ‘TIC’)
- Joint Tenancy
- Tenancy by the Entirety
You can become a joint owner of a real estate property in multiple ways:
- Business partners
- Jointly investing with other family members or friends
- Through gift or inheritance
- Married or unmarried couples investing jointly in real estate
- Arising out of divorce
- By way of a will
Types of Joint Property Ownership Disputes
Disagreements between real estate co-owners are the easiest interpretation of joint property ownership disputes. These disputes can be both major and minor. Co-ownership means that all joint owners are responsible for assuming authority and joint control over the real estate.
The joint owners may have agreed on handling and managing various affairs as an assignment or through an undertaking. Unfortunately, ambiguities and confusion may arise between the co-owners resulting in property and ownership disputes.
Disagreements may arise due to:
- The owners not agreeing on handling and managing the property
- Disputes regarding property use
- Deprivation of the right to use by one of the owners
- Complete possession of property against rent not approved by all joint owners
- Joint owner not being able to pay part of incurred expenses
- Not being able to agree on the use of property
Dealing With Joint Property Ownership Disputes
The best approach for alleviating a possible chance of ownership dispute is to get in touch with a real estate attorney. You can save yourself a considerable amount of trouble down the line by appointing a joint property ownership attorney.
The attorney you hire can help by lawfully formalizing a joint property agreement. Such agreements can provide conclusive evidence regarding the obligations and rights of each joint owner. The agreement can prove to be useful in case of a dispute regarding the joint property. The rights and obligations of individual co-owners may vary in the absence of a formal joint property agreement.
The variation can be as per the state laws regarding ownership of joint property or any other terms agreed upon by partners. In case of severe joint property ownership disputes, the joint owners can look to the attorney for arbitration. There are several disputes that can be resolved by the interference of a legal counselor. You can always file a lawsuit using a real estate attorney if mediation doesn’t work.
Use of Partition Action
Co-owners may make use of the Court to decide the matter where they cannot come to an agreement. This can be done through a partition action. ‘Partition Action’ lawsuit is used in deciding joint property ownership disputes. Joint owners ask the Court to determine the obligations and rights of individual co-owners.
Division of real estate is the probable result of a ‘Partition Action’ lawsuit. The Court may either:
- Divide the share of each joint owner physically, or
- Order the property to be sold and divide the proceeds between different joint owners.
The sale of real estate through a ‘Partition Action’ can be done through a public auction or privately. All costs incurred during the lawsuit will need to be paid from the sale proceeds. In case the costs are being divided, the Court will decide the manner in which the division will take place.
However, there is a downside to a partition action lawsuit like any other lawsuit. It is expensive, consumes unnecessary time, and can result in emotional setbacks for the parties involved. It is recommended that joint property owners use an alternative approach for resolving their differences. A competent real estate attorney can guide you toward obtaining a favorable result.
Importance of Hiring a Joint Property Dispute Attorney
It is natural for co-owners to have conflicts regarding the property. It can be difficult to avoid an occurrence if the tenure of the co-ownership is long. While it is common for minor issues to crop up, leaving issues unresolved can result in bigger problems. This may create more disputes between the co-owners if timely action is delayed.
For instance, the slightest mistake or ambiguity in acting upon or understanding a co-owner’s opinion in certain important matters can impact other co-owners. You should not delay consulting with an attorney if you think that matters are getting out of hand. Sometimes, timely action can prevent long drawn-out arguments.
Talk to a Top-Rated Real Estate Attorney Today
The team of skilled real estate lawyers at the law firm of Davis, Bingham, Hudson & Buckner, P.C. has years of experience resolving real estate-related disputes. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call us at (334) 821-1908 or fill out this online contact form.