Co-ownership of real property can be a very reasonable choice. People who have rented property together as roommates might buy the property from their landlord together because neither could afford it on their own. Other times, family members might inherit property jointly when a loved one dies. Grandparents in Minnesota might leave their cabin to all of their grandchildren jointly in the hopes that the family will continue to celebrate summer holidays there.
People can share financial responsibility and practical obligations with their co-owners, and they can all potentially benefit from the enjoyment of the property and its appreciation in value. However, one of the challenges associated with joint real property ownership is the possibility that co-owners will disagree about what should happen with the property.
The courts can intervene in property disputes between owners
What if one owner wants to sell but the other does not? The good news for those facing a seemingly intractable dispute with a co-owner is that the courts can take action if the owners do not reach an agreement. Maybe one owner is ready to retire and move out of Minnesota, so they would like to sell the property. Perhaps they have simply reached a point where they can no longer afford maintenance costs or cannot contribute toward regular property upkeep.
A partition action brought in civil court can divide the ownership interest in the property between the owners or possibly split the property itself. A judge could also order its sale. The process can sever the co-owner relationship and help someone limit their ongoing obligations related to the property.
Asking for court intervention may be the most effective way to resolve a dispute between co-owners about what should happen with jointly owned real property. However, co-owners can certainly seek legal guidance before committing to this approach or an alternative that may better suit their circumstances.