Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

A piece of property with a single family home has been inherited by 9 family members from four deceased siblings. The partners do not speak and the property is deteriorating. Everyone pays their share of the property taxes and HOA insurance. One owner( 8 1/2%) has approved and completed repairs to a joining property good neighbor fence . I have received a bill from this minority owner to pay 25% of the bill.

Do co-owners have the obligation to consult with the other owners before repairs are performed?

Asked on 6/27/13, 7:23 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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

There are really two related questions here. The first is whether one co-owner can commit to expenditures that would become a charge against the financial interests in the property of the other co-owners upon a sale. The answer here is that it depends upon the necessity or urgency of the expenditure. Outlays for things like mortgage payments, insurance premiums, property taxes and "necessary repairs, " when made by co-owner #1, become latent claims against the other co-owners, if and when the property is sold and profits realized. The good neighbor fence in question MAY fall into this category. However, the other question is whether co-owner #1 can send the other co-owners a bill for their share and expect to collect, prior to a sale of the property where everyone cashes in. Here, I think it depends upon what the co-owners may have agreed upon -- any contract between them -- for the care and management of the property. If there is none, I think it is doubtful that any co-owner who didn't agree to pay could be forced to pay, prior to a sale of the property.

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Answered on 6/29/13, 8:32 pm

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