Can a property co-owner force the property to be sold?


Whenever there are two or more owners of real estate, any one of them can force the property to be sold through a suit for partition. A suit for partition is where one owner of a parcel sues the other owner to divide the property. If the property is divisible, the court will split property down the middle. However, with single family homes the courts do not divide the house. The court sells the house on the court house steps.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Caroline, you're on News 96.5. Go ahead.

Caroline: Hi there, regarding residential property in Orange County. If there are two owners to the property, one owner has one-third, the other is two-third. Can the one-third owner, as a matter of courtesy, offer his third to the other guy, and if they don't want to pay what he's interested in, can they force a sale of the property?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Absolutely, Caroline. Here, in the state of Florida, whenever there are two or more owners of a piece of property, any one of them can force the property to be sold through a suit for partition. Suit for partition. In that, the court will order that the property be sold. By the way, the first thing they do with the proceeds, is they pay attorney’s fees and court costs for the bothering to file that suit.

Caroline, you could contact the other owner of the property and say, “Look, we got to strike a deal here or otherwise, I'm going to file a suit for partition, and by the way, from the proceeds, the court’s going to order that my attorney's fees be paid.” You're going to end up being paying-- if you own two-thirds, you're going to have paying two-thirds of the attorney's fees for the bothering to bring that suit for partition.

Caroline: Very interesting. Thank you so much for that information.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right, Caroline, good luck to you. Bye-bye.