Real Estate Law Firm Alperin LawOwning property with another individual can create several situations that are ripe for conflict. There may be disagreements over taxes, maintenance, improvements, or usage rights. In some cases, the conflict may escalate to the point where one person wants to sell the property altogether.

Buying Out the Co-Owner’s Share

When one person wants to sell a property and the other wants to stay, having the person who wants to stay buy out the co-owner’s interest is usually the preferred course of action. The process for this is very similar to what you went through when the property was purchased, since the person who is staying is essentially buying the property from the one who wants to leave.

An experienced real estate attorney can help you negotiate a fair agreement for this type of arrangement, whether you are a married couple getting a divorce, siblings who inherited a property, or friends who purchased a shared vacation home.

Asking the Court to Intervene

When you can’t work out an arrangement on your own, the court can intervene and force the sale. Va. Code § 8.01-81 allows joint tenants, tenants in common, executors with the power to sell, and coparceners of real property to file a partition action. The partition action can also address issues such as resolving liens on the property and allowing one party to receive compensation for payments in excess of their ownership interest if they’ve been paying for maintenance and upkeep because the other co-owner refused to share in this responsibility.

Although a partition action is most often used to force a sale, it can sometimes be used to request that the property be split into two separate parcels. For example, if you inherited a large acreage from your parents with a stream running down the middle, it might be possible to use the stream as a dividing point for sharing ownership with your siblings.

Do You Need a Real Estate Lawyer? Discover the Alperin Law Advantage

The Alperin Law team is available seven days a week to assist with residential or commercial real estate transactions in Virginia or North Carolina. Contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to learn how we can be of service. We serve all communities in Eastern Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Isle of Wight County, Hampton, the Eastern Shore, and Northeastern North Carolina, including Currituck, Elizabeth City, and the Outer Banks.


Scott Alperin
Experienced Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Serving Virginia Beach Area Clients Since 1994.