Convoluted situation- I'm hoping someone can give direction

7 Replies

Hey Biggerpockets,

I'm hoping someone can give me guidance. Complicated situation, here goes...

My wife and I bought a duplex with my in-laws 21 years ago. MIL passed after battling cancer in 2005. FIL got remarried in 2009, died after only 8 months of marriage. No will. Bitter woman. After probate, she now owns 1/4, my wife and I own 3/4. She will not move. She claims poor-mouth and only pays half of the 1st mortgage every month. We had to move into a bigger place to accommodate my aging mother, so now dealing with a big mortgage on the new house, 1/2 of small mortgage plus interest-only HELOC. Her side of duplex needs new A/C condenser. Side we are renting out needs new furnace and WH any minute. No reserves, no wiggle room. House has around $170k in equity. Any thoughts on maybe seeking a private buyer? Is there any way of selling only our 3/4 share? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Colin

@Colin O'Neill I've never heard of owning 1/4 a house. 1/4 an estate, of course. Is it an LLC? Or how is the deed worded?

I’d imagine you’d need to buy her out. I’m not sure you can sell a part of a house. ???

Speak with a lawyer. How you are holding title can matter. Tenants in common, etc. 

A court can force a sale. A bit unlikely given her age, primary residence, etc

A note to all, you need your JV (joint venture) agreements to be clear about death and other reasons the JV will come to an end. Way easier to nail it down at the start than to clean it up after something negative happens. Call it a ore-nup for a JV.

Originally posted by @Mike McCarthy :

@Colin O'Neill I've never heard of owning 1/4 a house. 1/4 an estate, of course. Is it an LLC? Or how is the deed worded?

I’d imagine you’d need to buy her out. I’m not sure you can sell a part of a house. ???

its called "tenants in Common"  

Thanks all for the replies. @Charlie MacPherson we are in MA also. The one lawyer we spoke to painted a bleak picture with petition to partition. He and other sources I've researched make it sound like it ends in a courthouse steps auction and we can kiss any equity goodbye. Do you have any experience with petition to partition?

Thanks!

Colin

@Colin O'Neill

Very complicated situation. Would be much worse if she refused to pay any of the mortgage. Interestingly, she’s paying half the mortgage and only owns 25% interest in the property. Can’t you rent out the other unit for enough to cover your share of the payments? Or is the problem that you need to get your equity out?