Co-owning real estate may present opportunities for conflict

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Real Estate Disputes

When you enter into a co-ownership agreement, you tie your financial and legal interests to those of another party. You may have purchased a home with a sibling, inherited a property with other family members or invested in real estate with a business partner. The two most common forms of co-ownership you will encounter are joint tenancy and tenancy in common. While co-ownership is a smart way to share costs and responsibilities, it can also lead to disagreements and quarrels between co-owners.

Why does co-owning property lead to disputes?

Because you are a co-owner, you have legal rights and responsibilities to the property. However, you must remember that the other co-owner shares the same rights and duties with you, depending on your co-ownership agreement. These can include the following:

  • Property rights: Co-owners have an equal right to use and enjoy the property, regardless of their ownership percentage.
  • Financial responsibilities: Co-owners are responsible for paying their share of the mortgage, taxes, and other expenses.
  • Decision-making: Co-owners must make decisions jointly unless the ownership agreement specifies otherwise.
  • Dispute resolution: Co-owners must resolve disputes in a fair and reasonable manner.

You might find yourself at odds with your co-owner about renovating the property or frustrated that they are not contributing their fair share to the mortgage or taxes. You may both even want to use the property on the exact dates. Co-ownership disputes can arise in many ways, including the following:

  • Disputes over property management decisions
  • Disputes over property use
  • Disputes over maintenance and repairs
  • Disputes over finances and accounting
  • Disputes over the sale of the property
  • Disputes over the division of profits and losses

Different opinions and interests can lead to conflict when co-owners are not on the same page about these important decisions. The first way to address disputes is to communicate and see if you can resolve it peacefully.

Resolving co-ownership disputes

If you are already in the middle of a co-ownership dispute, you have options to find a resolution. Mediation is a powerful tool that brings a neutral third party to the table, helping facilitate a conversation and guide you and your co-owner to a mutually acceptable solution. However, there are times when the other co-owner may refuse to cooperate and court intervention becomes necessary. If that is the case, you must be ready to defend your co-ownership rights in trial.