Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

What to do with half ownership of a house

I own a 50% share of a house as tenents in common with my friend. He lives in the house now. The house is in California, I live in Georgia.

I would like to know my options for basiclly not having to make house payments... If I have to have him assume the loan or sell it (I dont know I could sell just a stake) or if I can rent it even if he doesnt want a renter.

Asked on 6/10/09, 5:23 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Re: What to do with half ownership of a house

You could:

1. Petition a California court for what is called "partition," in essence the court orders the house to be auctioned and you get half of what is left over after the mortgage and court costs are dealt with.

2. Threaten to do #1 unless he buys you out for whatever money you demand.

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Answered on 6/10/09, 5:27 pm
David Gibbs The Gibbs Law Firm, APC

Re: What to do with half ownership of a house

Thank you for reposting this with the state information. There is a problem with LawGuru which tells us two states if you live in one, but need legal advice for another, and its impossible for us to tell which is which.

On to your question. Attorney Stone is correct - that is one option. Your problem with doing anything other than a partition is that unless he refinances the house or it is sold and the current loan paid off, you are still going to be on the hook for the mortgage. That's an untenable situation. As I recall from your first post, you were asking about deeding your interest to him - that is a really bad idea unless you can get yourself off the loan also. Again, the only way that will happen is if the property is sold, and the loan paid off; the property is refinanced by your co-tenant only - thus paying off the loan; or it is lost in foreclosure. As co-tenants, you each have a right to use of the entire property - in theory you could force him to accept a renter, but that's going to be tough to manage from GA, and he retains the right to occupy the property as well. Best bet is either threaten to partition the property, and get him to buy you out (including a refinance of the existing loan), or actually partition the property.

*Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC's (the "Firm") participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

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Answered on 6/10/09, 5:55 pm

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