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Title Disputes: When One Party Doesn’t Want to Sell

McCarter | East PLLC Sept. 19, 2023

Business Meetings of Real Estate Owners About Property SellingIn Tennessee, it is quite common for two or more people to co-own a property. Essentially, selling a co-owned or jointly-owned property requires the approval of all the co-owners. However, various issues often arise when one co-owner wants to sell, but the other party doesn’t. In such a situation, the party willing to sell the property may be able to file a partition action asking the court to divide the property and allow them to proceed with the sale. 

At McCarter | East PLLC, we proudly help clients in real estate and property partition matters. Our seasoned Tennessee real estate attorneys can work to understand the surrounding circumstances of your case and explore your possible options to partition the property and sell your portion. We proudly serve clients throughout Manchester and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

Situations in Which One Person Won’t Sell 

When more than one person co-owns a real estate property legally, there may be issues regarding the property’s usage rights, sale, maintenance, taxes, or renovation. In such a situation, it may be advisable for the co-owners to put up the property for sale. 

However, the property sale will only be feasible if all co-owners agree to it. Here are some possible situations where one party may refuse to sell their interests in the jointly-owned property: 

Divorce: A divorced couple who co-owns their marital home. 

Inheritance: Family members and heirs who inherited a real estate property from their late parents. 

Romantic: Current or former partners who co-own a property.   

Invested Ownership Partners: Business partners or friends who invested in the ownership or purchased the property jointly. 

In the event that one of the co-owners is not willing to sell their interests in the property, the other party may file a partition action with the Tennessee court to help divide the property among the other co-owners and force the sale. 

Understanding Partitions  

A partition action is a legal action filed by one of the co-owners of a jointly-owned property asking the court to divide the property among the co-owners. A partition action may be filed to equitably divide a jointly-owned property, such as a home, building, land, or farm. 

Who Can File a Partition Action? 

According to Tennessee laws, any individual who owns – or jointly owns – a property as a tenant-in-common may be entitled to file a partition action. Examples include: 

  • One or more co-owners 

  • Tenants in common 

  • Joint tenants 

  • Partners 

  • Cotenants 

  • Concurrent owners  

An experienced attorney can enlighten you about the types of partition actions and determine your eligibility to file. 

Types of Partitions 

Some common types of partition actions include: 

Partition in Kind 

Partition in kind occurs when the co-owners agree to divide their ownership rights in the property or land equitably and fairly into physically distinct portions. 

Partition by Sale 

Partition by sale allows a co-owner of real property to force the property under the supervision of the court. Essentially, the court-ordered sale may be done through an auction, open-market sale, or sealed bids. The court will sanction the property sale no matter whether the other co-owners agree with it or not. 

Partition by Appraisal 

In partition by an appraisal, the co-owner will sell their interests in the property and may be able to buy out the ownership interests of the other co-owners. The court will order an appraisal or evaluation to determine the actual value of the property. 

Partition by Interlocutory Judgment 

In partition by interlocutory judgment, the court will make a decision to determine each party’s ownership interest in the property. In addition, the court will force the entire property sale under its supervision. 

The Partition Process 

Here are the steps involved in seeking a partition action to help divide a property: 

  • Hire a skilled attorney to help file the partition action in court. 

  • Provide the name and other important details of all parties who have an ownership interest or claim in the property. 

  • Serve the complaint on all named defendants (the other co-owners). 

  • Proceed to a court trial. 

  • The judge will make a decision to determine the ownership interests of each party and the method of partition. 

  • The judge will appoint someone to oversee the partition process and provide necessary recommendations.  

An experienced real estate lawyer can help file your partition action, advocate for your best interests throughout the partition process, and seek a just and equitable division of the property or net proceeds. 

Unwavering Advocates for You 

Filing a partition action to divide or force the sale of a jointly-owned property usually involves a lot of complexities. At McCarter | East PLLC, we’re dedicated to offering reliable advocacy in complex real estate matters involving co-owned property sales. Our trusted legal team can help file the partition action, represent you diligently in court, and help you achieve the most favorable outcome. 

Contact us at McCarter | East PLLC today to schedule a simple case assessment with seasoned real estate attorneys. We can offer you the personalized legal counsel and brilliant representation you need in your real estate partition cases. With our Murfreesboro office only a few blocks from the courthouse, we are proud to serve clients throughout Manchester and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.