Along with your sibling, you’ve inherited a house from your parents — and you don’t want it. Your sister or brother does. It seems like the most reasonable solution at hand would be to have them buy out your share. Your sibling is balking, however, either because they don’t have the funds or they don’t like the price.
Is there anything you can do to move past this sibling stalemate? Absolutely. You can ask the court to intercede in your dispute through a partition action.
How partition actions work
A partition action basically asks the court to relieve you of the burden of forced ownership in a way that’s fair to everybody involved (even if your sibling doesn’t see it that way). Partition actions in cases like these usually work one of two ways:
- The court orders the sale of the house, and the proceeds to be divided according to each party’s ownership rights. This is usually what happens when one party wants to sell and the other party cannot afford to buy their share (or simply refuses).
- The court orders the property’s appraisal, by deciding who will provide an estimate of the property’s fair market value in a third-party sale. That figure can then be used so that both parties know that they are not getting cheated out of anything.
Sometimes, the mere specter of legal action in a real estate case is enough to bring a reluctant party to the negotiation table in earnest. Sometimes it’s not. Either way, you need to have a better understanding of your rights as a property owner to decide exactly how you want to proceed.