Partition Attorney serving Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Cupertino, Santa Clara, and the Silicon Valley
While Palo Alto may be the technology hub of the world, its sky high real estate prices also make it the hub of California real estate co-ownership. Co-ownership of property in Palo Alto can create complex problems. Sometimes, one co-owner of Palo Alto property refuses to sell or move from the property. This can become even more complicated when only one of the co-owners is paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs, and improvements. Co-owners can be former romantic partners, family members or friends, which can give rise to disputes requiring the skill of an experienced partition lawyer. If you are looking to solve your co-ownership dispute in Silicon Valley, our partition attorneys with experience in partition actions can help.
If You Don't Call Us, Your Co-Owner Will
The partition attorneys at Talkov Law in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley assist co-owners of real estate to end to both residential and commercial co-ownership disputes in California. We can help you obtain the equity you are owed. Many times, one co-owner refuses to cooperate in a sale. We end these disputes through a partition action in California, which is the only court ordered process to solve these real estate co-ownership disputes.
In a partition action, the court will divide the property fairly between the parties in two phases:
- Forcing the sale of the property in a partition by sale. In this phase, a Realtor will be hired to market the property on the open market to obtain the highest price. Sometimes, the buyer is the co-owner in possession of the property.
- Dividing the proceeds of sale. In this phase, co-owners can assert any offsets for payments of the mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs, improvements, rental value, and otherwise. The court can also award attorney's fees, usually to the party who filed the partition.
What Our Partition Clients Are Saying
Common Co-Ownership Disputes that We Resolve in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley
Partition actions are very common among co-owners in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley, California. Among the most frequent parties in partition actions are:
- Former boyfriends and girlfriends
- Parents and children
- Siblings, especially after jointly inheriting a family home
- Cousins, aunts and uncles
- Co-investors in real estate
- Post-divorce joint owners
However the parties ended up in the co-ownership relationship, there is only one way to end those disputes: a partition action. In most cases, a partition action will last only a few months, and cost several thousand dollars. However, the result will be that plaintiffs will have a check in their hand without the worries of co-ownership.
Below, our partition attorneys discuss some of the frequently asked questions about partition actions in California.
If you have further questions after reading this article, we invite you to contact us at Talkov Law.
What Happens in a Partition Action?
Nearly all partition action are partition by sale. After filing the complaint and serving the defendants, the court will generally order that the property be marketed for sale by a court-appointed partition referee. That referee will hire a Realtor to market the property on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so that the offers are at the full market value.
However, in many cases, the co-owner in possession will make a settlement offer to the co-owner filing the partition to purchase their interest for an amount that is equivalent to what the plaintiff would receive if the partition action resulted in a sale of the property. These settlements short-circuit the delays, headaches and attorney's fees incurred in prolonged litigation.
In rare cases, there are other forms of partition that can be used. In a partition by appraisal, the parties agree on the buyer and method of appraisal of the property to allow one or more parties to be bought out. In a partition in kind, usually used for vacant land, the property can be physically divided. Single family homes are generally ineligible for this form of partition.
The Right to Partition in California
Commonly, 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.
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.
Are There Defenses to a Partition Action?
Many times, parties ask if a partition action can be stopped, and whether there are affirmative defenses to a partition action. In all but the rarest of cases, there is no defense to a partition action. When there is a defense, it will usually consist of a written waiver of the right to partition in a tenants in common agreement. However, this is extremely rare as most co-owners do not have any written agreement relating to their co-ownership arrangement.
What is the cost of a partition action in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley 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 $7,000 to $12,000, depending upon the complexity. Given our experience, we are able to win a partition action and 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. In rare cases, partition actions give rise to related disputes, such as a quiet title action, which can increase the cost of a partition action.
Can I recover costs for the mortgages, taxes, insurance, repairs, improvements, 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 Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley, California
The partition attorneys at Talkov Law are handling numerous partition lawsuits at any given time. With our experience, we can easily answer the common questions as found in our Ultimate Guide to Partition Actions in California, including:
- How to file a partition action?
- What are the pros and cons of a partition action?
- Partition action forms
- Can you recover payments benefiting the property in a partition action?
- How to win a partition action?
- How long does it take to win a partition action?
- Can a partition action be stopped? How do you stop a partition action?
- Affirmative defenses to a partition action
- Do I need a partition action lawyer?
- How do I choose a partition action attorney?
Our Attorneys Are Handling Over 100 Partition Actions Across California
Do I need a partition lawyer in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley?
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.
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. Our experience means that we can do so efficiently and effectively.
Contact a Partition Attorney with Experience in Palo Alto Today
If you are looking to end your co-ownership relationship, it is critical to protect your rights and speak to an experienced and creative real estate litigator. Call Talkov Law today at (650) 999-3300 or contact us online for a free analysis of your situation.
The attorneys at Talkov Law serve the Santa Clara County cities of Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills and the San Mateo County cities of Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City, South San Francisco, San Bruno, Pacifica, Menlo Park, Foster City, Burlingame, San Carlos, East Palo Alto, Belmont, Millbrae, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Atherton, Woodside, Brisbane, Portola Valley, and Colma.