Real Estate Q & A: Can I force my co-owner to sell a property?

real-estate-q-a-sell-property

Adam D. Martinez | Chairman of Real Estate Litigation Department

Question:  My partner and I have several real estate investments in Arizona. One of those investments is a 16-unit apartment complex. My partner and I own it in equal shares as tenants-in-common (his choice). We each contributed an equal amount of cash to purchase the property and we each divide all maintenance and expenses equally. Everything has been fine for years. The property cash flows very well and we now have a significant amount of equity.

Recently, things have not been going well with my partner and I no longer want to own the property with him. I would prefer to sell it and take the equity and invest it in another project. Initially, my partner agreed, but when it came time to sign the contract for sale, he refused. Now he says he will not agree to any sale. Is there any way I can make him sign off on the sale?

Answer:  Yes. In Arizona, when multiple owners cannot agree on the use or disposition of real estate, one or more of the owners may obtain a court order to “partition” the property. Where the property is vacant land and a fair division can be made by dividing the property, the court will do so. However, where the property contains improvements that cannot be divided, the Court will simply appoint a real estate broker who will market and sell the property and then divide the net sales proceeds according to the ownership interests of the parties, e.g. 1/2 each.

Adam Martinez is the Chairman of the Real Estate Litigation Department at Rose Law Group pc., and can be reached at amartinez@roselawgroup.com.

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