A partition action is the only court ordered process in California to bring an end to real estate co-ownership disputes. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 872.210, a partition action is a legal process to divide a California real estate equitably among its co-owners. When there is disagreement where one or more co-owner of a property may want to sell the property, but another co-owner does not agree to sell, a partition action can help force the sale of the property fairly and equitably among the joint owners.
The Right to Partition in California
Our partition attorneys in California bring an end to real estate co-ownership disputes. We accomplish this goal through the only court ordered process to do so: by filing a partition action in California.
Indeed, there can be nothing more frustrating than co-ownership of real estate in California. Many times, one co-owner of property is paying the mortgage, while another co-owner lives at the property without making any contribution to the property. Other times, the property was inherited, perhaps years ago, making partition the only way to unlock the value of the property. Eventually, tenancy-in-common and joint-tenancy get old, and co-owners seek to end this unhealthy property co-ownership relationship. While parties may have purchased the property as tenants-in-common because they are family, friends, or fellow investors, the relationship often turns out to be something other than the parties expected.
Fortunately, the right to a partition action is absolute in California, meaning that the right to partition a property is achievable by any co-owner, no matter how small or large their interest in the property may be. Once filed with the courts, a partition action cannot be “stopped” by a party who does not wish to sell the property unless the parties can resolve the dispute by settling. As the courts have explained, "the right to partition is absolute, and cannot be denied, ‘either because of any supposed difficulty, nor on the suggestion that the interest of the cotenants will be promoted by refusing the application or temporarily postponing action, . . .’” Priddel v. Shankie (1945) 69 Cal.App. 2d 319, 325.
What Happens in a Partition Action?
The outcome of a partition action depends on the form of partition as follows:
Partition by Sale: the most common form of partition, the property will be marketed for sale and the court will allow over-bidders to appear in court. A skilled partition attorney can assist one co-owner in buying out the other co-owners through this process.
Partition by Appraisal: this uncommon method allows the parties to agree on the buyer and method of appraisal of the property to allow one or more parties to be bought out.
Partition in Kind: most common when the property is undeveloped, this form of partition allows the property to be physically divided. Single family homes are generally ineligible for this form of partition.
How Much Does a Partition Action Cost and Who Will Pay the Attorney’s Fees?
Perhaps the most common question we are asked is the cost of a partition action in California. Usually, the cost will range from $4,000 to $12,000, but can be higher if there are unusual issues of efforts by any party to delay the proceedings. Given our experience, we are able to produce a better result at a lower cost in a faster manner than many firms without such expertise. Often times, there is an uncooperative tenant or co-owner at the property who is in no rush to leave. Our experience will make sure that the occupants cooperate or pay the price both financially and possibly through paying your attorneys fees for the partition.
Recovering Offsets, Improvements, Repairs, Taxes, Mortgage Payments and Rental Value in a Partition Action
After the property is sold, every partition involves an accounting wherein owners can recover partition offsets. If one co-owner made improvements, paid the taxes or paid the mortgage, this will be the time to recoup those payments. Even further, if one co-owner has been in possession or has retained the rent, an argument can be raised to recover the rental value of the property.
Frequently Asked Questions about Partition Actions in California
With an office in Riverside, California, the attorneys at Talkov Law in the Inland Empire provide legal services in the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona, Murrieta, Temecula, Jurupa Valley, Hesperia, Hemet, Menifee, Perris, Eastvale, Lake Elsinore, San Jacinto, Beaumont, Wildomar, Banning, Norco, Canyon Lake, Calimesa, and Idyllwild, as well as San Bernardino County.
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