If you are a property owner who owns property with another individual or legal entity, and you cannot agree on whether the property should be sold, Florida law provides a mechanism that prevents you from being trapped in maintaining joint ownership of that property. Under Florida Statute §64, a person or legal entity who is a joint property owner with another person or legal entity, who has current right of possession to the property, can file an action for Partition and request for a Court to order the property to be sold in order for the proceeds of the property to be divided between the property owners.
This legal mechanism is a valuable tool where property is owned by multiple people or legal entities and those owners cannot agree on what should be done with the property. This allows a property owner who wants to cash out their equity in the property to sell the property and prevents the other owners from trapping that owner into continuing in the unwanted joint ownership of the property. In order to successfully partition property, a lawsuit naming each property owner must be filed within the County where the property is located. Within the lawsuit, a party seeking partition must show what percentage of ownership each property owner has. Once percentage of ownership in the property is established, a party may present an accounting of any expenses or profits received in relation to the property, wherein if one party has maintained the property at their expense, that party may have the sale proceeds awarded in the case adjusted against the other owners percentage of ownership in order to equally distribute those expenses between the owners. Importantly, attorney’s fees and costs of the partition case can be awarded to be shared by the parties pursuant to Fla. Stat. §64.081, although you may pay costs to file the partition up front, you may have a portion of those attorney’s fees returned to you upon the sale of the property at the end of the Partition action.
Once percentage of ownership, expense adjustments, and payment of share of attorney’s fees and costs have been determined, the Court will order how sale proceeds will be distributed between the parties, followed by an order that the property be sold either through public auction or through a private magistrate. Upon conclusion of the sale and deposit of the proceeds into the Court registry, the proceeds are then distributed based upon the Court’s prior ruling. Additionally, Florida’s partition statute is available in the same manner for personal property, such as a mobile home, R.V., vehicle, or boat, that is jointly owned pursuant to Fla. Stat. §64.091.
If you jointly own real or personal property with another person or legal entity and you would like to sell the property but can’t come to an agreement with the other owners, our firm is happy to schedule a consultation with you to determine if partition is a viable option for your circumstances.