Joint ownership of property has several burdens involved, such as taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance, repairs, and improvements. Florida law permits that one of the owners of a jointly owned property files a lawsuit to force the property’s sale.
In this article, you will find out how to force the sale of a jointly owned property in Florida.
Forcing the Sale of a Jointly Owned Property in Florida – Preliminary Actions
Before filing in court to force the sale of a jointly owned property, it is fundamental to understand the current ownership. You must clarify who owns each percentage of the property, which may require a title report from a Florida title attorney.
Although it is possible to force a sale by filing an action for partition, a voluntary sale on the open market may result in more money than a forced sale. Depending on the willingness of the co-owners to cooperate, it is possible to prevent the loss in value and reach an alternative agreement.
The best approach is to consult with an expert attorney to assess the situation and negotiate with the other co-owners. If applicable, you may send them a letter explaining the partition process to prove it would hurt the finances of all parties involved in the lawsuit.
If successive attempts to reach an agreement out of the court are fruitless, the last resource available is to file a partition lawsuit.
How Do You Force the Sale of a Jointly Owned Property in Florida? – As Provided by Law
The term “partition” refers to the legal process used to force the sale of jointly owned property. Statutory rules provide that “partition shall be brought in any county where the lands or any part thereof lie which are the subject matter of the action.”
As provided by Florida Statutes §64.031, “the action may be filed by any one or more of several joint tenants, tenants in common, or coparceners, against their cotenants, coparceners, or others interested in the lands to be divided.”
When preparing the petition, Florida Statutes §64.041 require the plaintiff to include:
- “A description of the lands of which partition is demanded
- The names and places of residence of the owners, joint tenants, tenants in common, coparceners, or other persons interested in the lands according to the best knowledge and belief of plaintiff
- The quantity held by each, and
- Such other matters, if any, as are necessary to enable the court to adjudicate the rights and interests of the party”
The same statute specifies that “if the names, residence or quantity of interest of any owner or claimant is unknown to plaintiff, this shall be stated. If the name is unknown, the action may proceed as though such unknown persons were named in the complaint.”
After identifying that it is not possible to divide the property physically or an equitable division would prejudice the parties involved, the court may order:
- A private sale conducted by the clerk or magistrate,
- A judicial sale by public auction, or
- A private sale based on a stipulation or agreement of the co-owners