Lawyer Mediating in A Property Dispute

Title Disputes: When One Party Doesn’t Want to Sell 

Law Offices of David W. Wilcox Aug. 23, 2022

Selling a co-owned property requires the agreement and approval of all the co-owners. However, disputes may arise when one of the co-owners refuses to sell their interests in the property. In such situations, you may be entitled to take a partition action to force the real estate sale. A practiced Florida real estate law attorney can educate you about your legal options and determine the best course of action.  

Attorney David Wilcox has the diligence and resources to assist and guide clients in real estate and joint-tenancy-related matters. He can discuss your personal situation and inform you about the different legal options to divide and sell a jointly-owned property when one party is refusing to sell. The firm is proud to serve clients across Bradenton, Sarasota County, and Matinee County, Florida. 

What Is Joint Tenancy? 

Joint tenancy can be described as a legal arrangement whereby two or more individuals own a real estate property together. In joint tenancy, each co-owner will have equal rights and obligations over the property. To sell a co-owned property, all the co-owners must reach a mutual agreement to proceed with the sale. Unfortunately, the other party may refuse to sell their interest in the property. Thus, preventing or delaying the sale of the property and eventually leading to a real estate dispute. 

Situations in Which One Person Won’t Sell  

Furthermore, disputes often occur when two or more people own a property. There may be disagreements between co-owners over the maintenance, usage rights, taxes, improvements, or property sale. Essentially, selling a co-owned property requires the approval of all the co-owners. Here are some common situations where one party may refuse to sell:  

  • Divorce: A divorced couple who co-owns their marital home.  

  • Inheritance: Family members who inherited personal or real property from their late parents.  

  • Invested Ownership Partners: Business partners or friends who invested in or purchased the property ownership jointly.  

In any of the aforementioned situations, the co-owner who is willing to sell may turn to the Florida court to help divide the property and order the sale. This may require filing a partition action. A trained attorney can enlighten you about the process involved in filing a partition and help you make informed decisions. 

What Is a Partition Action? 

A partition action is a legal action taken by one of the co-owners of a jointly-owned property to divide a real property or land among the other co-owners. In the state of Florida, one or more co-owners, coparceners, joint tenants, or tenants in common may bring a partition action. 

Types of Partition Actions 

Below are the different types of partition actions in Florida:  

Partition by Sale – This is the most common type of partition action in Florida. Partition by sale allows a co-owner of real property to force the sale of the entire property under the court’s supervision. Such a court-ordered sale may be by auction, sealed bids, or open-market sale, regardless of whether the other co-owner approves the sale or not.  

Partition in Kind – This involves dividing the property into physically distinct and separately titled parcels. Since it is practically impossible to divide a house, partition in kind is usually applied to undeveloped rural land.  

Partition by Appraisal – This allows the co-owner who wants to sell the property to purchase the other co-owners interests at a value determined through a court-ordered appraisal or evaluation.  

A proficient Florida real estate attorney can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each partition action, help decide the ideal option that best fits your individual needs, and advise you through the legal processes involved. 

The Partition Process  

When filing a partition action, you must name every party with a claim or interest in the property or land. These include the owners, holders of future estates, lienholders, and lenders. Here are some of the steps involved in the partition process:  

  • Hire an attorney to help file the partition action in court. According to Florida Statute Section 64.022, the partition action must be brought in the county where the land or property is located.  

  • Serve the complaint on all named defendants (the other co-owners and lienholders).  

  • Proceed to a court trial, like other civil lawsuits. However, there is no right to a jury trial.  

  • The presiding judge will give a decision to determine each party’s interests and the partition method.  

  • The judge will appoint a referee to supervise the partition process and make suitable recommendations.   

A strategic lawyer can help file your partition complaint, represent you meticulously during the court trial, help protect your best interests, and attempt to divide the proceeds justly. 

Trusted Guidance When You Need it Most  

Co-owning property with someone else can result in various situations that may lead to possible real estate disputes. Should one of the co-owners refuse to sell, filing a partition action may be the ideal way to divide the property or force the sale. A local real estate law attorney can help you understand the different legal options available to you and decide the best course of action.  

Attorney David Wilcox provides experienced legal services and guides clients through the complexities involved in selling jointly-owned properties. As your legal counsel, he can analyze the various partition options available to you and determine the right choice for your specific situation. 

Dividing or selling a jointly-owned property can be complex. Contact the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox today to schedule a simple consultation with a trusted real estate lawyer. Attorney David Wilcox has the honorable legal counsel and loyal advocacy you need to make informed decisions. The firm is proud to serve clients across Bradenton, Sarasota County, and Matinee County, Florida.