My brother and I own an inherited house, his son and family has been living there rent-free for 7 years. Brother has been paying the taxes ($12k) and homeowners insurance, and what maintenance has been done. I want to sell, he does not. If it comes to a partition sale, can I claim the 7 years of back rent to off-set what he has paid so we can split the proceeds in half. I would like for them to buy my half but that does not seem likely.

  • Is your brother living in the house with his son and family? Or is it your brother's son and the son's family that is living there?
    – Raze
    Feb 18 '15 at 20:43

This is a potentially legal question. "Can I claim?" - It's a bit late in the game. We're not here to reprimand people for what's past, but to try to offer a solution for now.

You need to go to him and get to the point. You own half of a $600K (am I close?) home and are seeing no return on your equity. You'd like to sell it and get your half, at minimum, but feel that you are entitled to a bit of the lost rent. Half, right? And offset by half the taxes he paid. If the house rents for $2000, you should have seen $12K/yr, less $6K for tax. Or only $6,000/yr. But that adds up over time. And it's only 2% on your locked up $300K.

He can say no. You might have to go to court to force a sale. The court might give you something for the 7 years, or not, it depends on the judge.

For anyone who reads this on inheriting such a house as joint owners, nail the details down at the time you inherit. Else resentment can build up, and things can get ugly.

  • It's apprx $80k small 1944 house their parents lived in. Your last paragraph is spot on - resentment building up and will probably get nasty. Never would have thought it would turn into 7 years of free rent to nephew, his children and his live-in girlfriend.
    – D Kilmer
    Feb 18 '15 at 21:31
  • 2
    Highly recommend the book "Getting to Yes" for situations like this. Goal is to get to a fair resolution for everyone without getting nasty. Since you can force a partition sale, it's in his interest to work it out, too. Keep mom and dad in mind, they left you the house hoping you'd work it out, right?
    – Rocky
    Feb 18 '15 at 21:40
  • Did you mean $80k or $800k?
    – Raze
    Feb 18 '15 at 21:42
  • Was the $12K tax per year, or over the 7 years? The emotions don't change, but the numbers do. $80K house isn't quite the same as the $600K house I estimated. Feb 18 '15 at 23:14
  • House is just $80,000, taxes were $12K over the 7 years. It's never seemed like enough money to fight over until now when I would like to make some improvements to my home as I get older - walk-in shower instead of tub, paying for maintenance for things I can't do myself anymore, etc.
    – D Kilmer
    Feb 19 '15 at 22:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.