Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Land/Property Question: let's say that 4 people share land/property and all 4 names of the individuals are on the deed. They each made a verbal agreement that noone would force the others to buyout. But time passes and one of the owners decides that they are unable to afford their share of the property taxes as well as funding for property maintenance. That owner wishes to relinquish their ownership of the property and recoup any investments they had made in the property. What recourse do they have?

Asked on 5/13/13, 5:42 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

Anytime I read any thing about a real property deal with a verbal side agreement, I immediately turn and walk away.

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Answered on 5/13/13, 8:50 pm

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

If the facts show that the four owners are in a partnership, and they may well be, whether they think of it as such or not, then the oral agreement regarding continuing co-ownership (or whatever) very will might be an enforceable oral partnership agreement (or part of one). Not all co-ownership of real property results in a partnership, of course, but when four adults are on title to one parcel of real estate, there's often a strong possibility that they are conducting a rental or investment partnership, whether they've used the term to describe their business relationship or not. Consequently, the situation may not be governed by the general rule that agreements respecting ownership of real property must be in writing. My advice would be to try to negotiate some kind of an exit arrangement acceptable to all, and reduce it to writing. Avoid litigating this issue, if possible. It's not possible to predict a winner (from the given facts) if this were to go to litigation.

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Answered on 5/19/13, 4:43 pm

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