What is a partition action? That’s the name of a lawsuit where you want to force the sale of property that you have an interest in. So if you only have a very small interest, say usually it’s a half interest or a quarter interest, and it’s usually a family matter where the family has inherited a piece of property from mom or dad and we have two or three sisters and they can’t seem to agree on what to do with the property. So one of them decides, “Well, I want to force sister out of the house since she’s living there and she’s not taking care of it and I just want my money.”
They then contact an attorney and say, “What can I do about that?” And I say, “Well, you can file a partition action.” And a partition action says that you have an interest in the property. You have to name all the other people who have an interest in the property and say that you want the property sold. And then there’s two ways to do it, you can either have it sold just like a foreclosure sale by the clerk’s office with an auction, although usually that doesn’t bring a very good price, or you can ask to have it be sold at what they call a private sale and that’s where you usually have a realtor sell the property.
So with a partition action, you ask that it be a private sale and then have a special magistrate appointed, which is usually a local attorney who then takes care of listing the property, and then once he has a contract, petitions the court for the courts approval of the contract and then he can sell the property and doesn’t need the signatures of all of the participants in that he is directed to sell the property. And so he sells the property and then divides up the money to everyone’s particular interest.
In addition to being able to get your percentage share of that money, you can assert that you have what they call a special equity. Let’s say that you’ve been paying all the taxes on the property for the past several years and the other owners of the property haven’t contributed. So you can assert that you have a special equity in the proceeds. Also, a little tougher situation is when one of the owners is living on the property, the other owners can assert that they want a reasonable rental value for their share of the proceeds.
So it’s a little bit complicated as far as sorting out who gets the money. But the partition action allows one of the property owners to force the sale of the property. And I find that it’s a very effective tool in getting the people to negotiate some sort of buyout or getting the property sold. So if you need to get some property sold and you can’t get along with the brothers and sisters or the co-owners, well, give me a call at 727-847-2288 and we’ll file a partition action.