Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Massachusetts

If you have a partner on a house and only I put up the down payment and the other person refuses to go look for another job and won't pay there portion what is my legal right.

Asked on 10/23/09, 8:13 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Alan Fanger Alan S. Fanger, Esq.

If you and the partner co-own the house, you have the right to file something known as a petition for partition of the property, in either the Probate Court or the Land Court. In this proceeding the court would appoint someone to sell the house (that person typically hires a broker, who then actively markets the property). In this proceeding the proceeds from the sale are "equitably adjusted" to reflect what each partner contributed (e.g. down payment, taxes, maintenance, etc.). Feel free to contact my office if you wish to discuss this matter in greater detail.

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Answered on 10/28/09, 8:31 am

Christopher Vaughn-Martel Charles River Law Partners, LLC.

Attorney Fanger's description is excellent. I would add that you also have the option (if both co-owners are agreeable) to purchase your partner's share of the equity in the home.

For example, you are each entitled to 50% of the value of the home, and the home is appraised at $300,000.00 with a present mortgage of $230,000.00. You have the option of refinancing and paying your partner a lump-sum of $35,000.00 (50% of the $70,000.00 in equity). Of course, if you or s/he made a significant initial investment in the home, that would need to be credited.

Please feel free to contact my office (617-357-4898) if you would like to attempt buy-out negotiations prior to filing a Petition for Partition.

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Answered on 10/28/09, 10:19 am
Joseph Murray Joseph M. Murray, Esq.

If you can't buy out your partner's interest you could retain an attorney to negotiate a settlement or file a petition to partition the property to determine the equitable interests of the partners and force a sale to liquidate those interests if necessary. Good Luck!

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Answered on 10/28/09, 11:06 am

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