This article explains the rules surrounding a partition action for tenants in common. When multiple individuals own the same property as tenants in common, the property typically qualifies for partition. For details on the partition and forced sale process, please see my other articles listed below.
WHY WOULD TENANTS IN COMMON SEEK PARTITION?
To oversimplify, the phrase “tenants in common” means that multiple individuals own the same property. Joint ownership often causes problems and disputes. The parties may not agree on whether to sell, lease, or keep the property. Disputes may arise regarding taxes, maintenance, insurance, or mortgages. Ultimately, these disputes can lead to a partition action for tenants in common.
Sometimes, joint ownership arises from divorce, inheritance, or a failed business relationship. Thankfully, the law does not force co-owners to remain as co-owners. The forced sale and partition process allows a way out when parties cannot agree to sell the property voluntarily.
HOW DOES THE PROCESS BEGIN?
A partition action should not occur until you rule out the possibility of a voluntary sale. For that reason, you should try sending a letter to your co-owners informing them of your right to seek a forced sale. When faced with a choice between forced sale and voluntary sale, they might consider a voluntary sale. If your letter comes from an attorney, all the better.
CAN YOU FILE THE PARTITION ACTION YOURSELF?
Usually, partitions involve detailed legal analysis and possible litigation. For this reason, most people should not attempt a partition alone. Theoretically, you can represent yourself. However, an attorney can inform you of the fees, length, and details of a partition action. The exact requirements for a partition action for tenants in common depend on state law. In Oklahoma, partition actions stem from 12 Okla. Stat. Section 1501, et al. If you proceed without an attorney, locate the applicable partition statutes. Read them thoroughly and abide by them.