Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

I own 5 properties "Tenants in Common" in Washington State with my brother and sister that I inherited from my mother 15 years ago. Since then, my sister has been collected all the rent and keeping it all for herself. Every month she claims the expenses are equal to the income. There is no mortgage on any of the properties. She refuses to turn over the keys or to share the proceeds or give us access to the property account (which is most like "Zero" anyway"). She doesn’t even return phone calls or emails. My brother has hired a high end attorney who has accomplished very little so far. After 10 thousand dollars we have gotten some discovery (One of the receipts she turned over in discovery was for a package of Trojan condoms) and he now says we need to hire forensics accountants to analysis the discovery before we can proceed with a motion. My brother has run out of money for now and this next step is a very expensive step. The attorney will not file a motion for our sister to give us access to the property or money until he has testimony from the forensic accountants.

I am jobless and homeless (living in my car). My question is can't I just have a locksmith change the lock and move myself in? I am after all the owner. I have no written contract with my sister ever to manage the properties and I do not even know who the tenants are.

Asked on 6/19/10, 3:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Ann Sattler Aiken, St. Louis & Siljeg, P.S.

No you can't just change the locks. If there are tenants, they have rights. It is unfortunate that your brother's attorney has not done better after charging so much. If your brother and you want another opinion on your case, let us know.

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Answered on 6/22/10, 4:10 pm

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