Since my dad passed away in 2009 my sister has been living on the property. There is no mortgage and all she needs to pay are the taxes. Back in 2014 my cousin pay $2500 for back property taxes. My other sister and I have tried to get my her to sell the property but she won't . Now she owes $9400 in taxes. What can I do legally to get her to sell the property?

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    Also is her name the only one on the deed? Did he leave the property solely to her? – D Stanley Oct 14 at 21:19
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    "Since my dad passed away in 2009 my sister has been living on the property." Yes, but who owns it?? – RonJohn Oct 14 at 21:22
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    This question might be better suited to Law – Luck Oct 15 at 17:29
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    The title is misleading; it's not your father's property any more. We need more information about who, exactly owns the property and what jurisdiction it lies in (country, state, etc.) – chepner Nov 14 at 14:41
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    When you are asking legal process questions, you always have to mention the jurisdiction. The process to do this in Zaire might be a bit different than the process in Japan, Brazil or Sweden. – Philipp Nov 14 at 15:27

What can I do legally to get her to sell the property?

There's not a way in any jurisdiction that I know of to force her to sell. One option would be to wait for the natural consequence, which is the county (or applicable jurisdiction) foreclosing on the property for payment of back taxes.

If she's content with that outcome then I don't know that there's much else you can do. At that point, you could try again to convince her to sell the property to a family member at least, or risk letting it go at auction. I definitely would not pay any more of the taxes for her as it's just postponing the inevitable.

  • What if they let it go to auction and then buy it themselves? (Though that might be illegal, and would just stir up more family problems since they'd have to decide what to do with her.) – RonJohn Oct 14 at 21:24
  • @RonJohn I don't know that it would be illegal, but they may have to compete with other bidders. It certainly would be easier (and probably cheaper) to buy it directly. – D Stanley Oct 14 at 21:42
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    But if there are three legitimate owners (my sister, my other sister, and I) and the house is worth $200,000, then my other sister and I can bid $210,000 and get each $70,000 of the purchase price back immediately. So the remove 'my sister' for $70,000 from her ownership and can throw her out. – gnasher729 Oct 14 at 23:13
  • "There's not a way in any jurisdiction that I know of to force her to sell" there is "heirs property", still in effect in some states when there is no will. It has been in the news very recently because of reform efforts. theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/09/this-land-was-our-land/… and thenation.com/article/african-americans-have-lost-acres – user662852 Oct 15 at 3:17

If she doesn't pay taxes then eventually the house will go to auction.

Let's say the house is worth $200,000. So the highest bid should be $200,000 but would probably be less. Then the tax would be paid out of this, and everyone gets one third of what is left.

If you want to then you and your cousin together could bid say $210,000 for the house. Then the tax would be paid out of this, and you and your cousin get one third each, that is $140,000 minus two thirds of the unpaid taxes. Now the house is yours for around $70,000.

A nasty method would be for you and your cousin to move in. You can't throw out your sister, because it's one third her house. But neither can she keep you out. Your family relationship will suffer, but I assume it's bad anyway.

  • At the very least, you are assuming the OP (and possibly others) also own shares of the house; that hasn't been established. If they do, they also are responsible for the taxes, and there may be additional consequences to simply letting the house go up for auction to collect the back taxes. And finally, the first sister may have additional rights (depending on jurisdiction) simply by occupying the property that the other co-owners don't have. – chepner Nov 14 at 14:37

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