Florida law permits different types of co-ownership, such as tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety. Depending on the circumstances of the case, one of the co-owners can force a sale of the property. Keep reading to find out how it is possible to force a sale of property in Florida.
Forced Sale of Property in Florida – An Introduction
In Florida, a partial owner of a property can force the sale of a property by filing a partition lawsuit. The term “partition” refers to a court-supervised process to divide the jointly owned property.
It is important to understand that the law may not force anyone to stay as the co-owner of a property. Even if a co-owner has a minor ownership share in a property, he or she has the right to file for partition in court.
Florida Statutes §64.022 provides that “partition shall be brought in any county where the lands or any part thereof lie which are the subject matter of the action.”
In such cases, the court may order a private sale under the supervision of the clerk or a magistrate, a judicial sale by public auction, or even a judicially sanctioned private sale. Examples of cases in which it is possible to file for partition include:
- If a couple of individuals who are not legally married unexpectedly end their relationship while co-owning a property
- If multiple siblings co-own inherited a property from their deceased mother but one of them wants to quit the arrangement
- If one of the co-owners of a property divided among family members wants to sell his part but the others do not want to pay the fair price
- If one of the co-owners of a property wants to “buy out” the others’ shares of interest
- If multiple business partners want to dissolve a company but cannot agree on the division of co-owned property
Is it Possible to Force a Sale of Property If the Other Owners Fail to Fulfill their Ownership Duties?
Under Florida law, the co-owners of property must contribute to the expenses associated with property ownership. For example, if a property held under joint tenancy was financed, all the co-owners are responsible for the mortgage payment.
However, it is not hard to find cases in which one co-owner maintains a property by him or herself, assuming mortgage payments, paying the bills, and other expenses.
In these specific circumstances, if the co-owner does not receive a proportionate contribution amount, he or she is entitled to an action for reimbursement. If the other parties decide not to contribute, it is possible to force a sale to recover the unpaid expenses incurred in the process.
Forced Sale of Property in Florida – Statutory Provisions
Florida Statutes §64.051 provides that “the court shall adjudge the rights and interests of the parties, and that partition be made if it appears that the parties are entitled to it.”
Under the same statute, “when the rights and interests of plaintiffs are established or are undisputed, the court may order partition to be made, and the interest of plaintiffs and such of the defendants as have established their interest to be allotted to them, leaving for future adjustment in the same action the interest of any other defendants.”
Please note that a co-owner cannot file for the partition of a property held under tenancy by the entirety.