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I live in CA. I co-own a house with my sisters. The older sister is living in the house in Texas and won't speak to us, so cooperation is not a solution.

How do we get her out of the house so we can sell it? Will the local law help? Do we need a lawyer? We have the deed in all 3 of our names.

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    This sounds like a legal issue, not a personal finance one. – Zibbobz Jun 22 '15 at 19:11
  • The most up to date discussion about whether legal questions are on-topic is here: meta.money.stackexchange.com/questions/2124, which suggests it's probably off-topic. The Law SE is still quite new and it's not entirely clear whether this would be on-topic there or not - there was some discussion in the Area 51 proposal about whether it should be or not: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/18598/… – GS - Apologise to Monica Jun 22 '15 at 20:22
  • She won't speak to you? Write her a note. Mention the legal remedies you are considering. That might start the conversation moving. – NL - Apologize to Monica Jun 22 '15 at 21:52
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    Even if you "get her out of the house", you can't sell the property without her agreement or else a court order forcing it. Talk to a lawyer. – Chris W. Rea Jun 22 '15 at 22:30
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    The term you're looking for is a "partition suit." Here's a website that talks about it. Beware: it's a lawyer's website. – mkennedy Jun 22 '15 at 23:18
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Get a lawyer. If you're having legal issues - get a lawyer. If you're having contract issues - get a lawyer.

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If your sister refuses to discuss the matter, I can't imagine how you'll resolve it without going to court. I'd guess that ultimately a judge would say that if you can't all agree on what to do, that the property must be sold and the money distributed between you. As others here have said, you really want to get a lawyer.

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If you have a copy of the deed, or the original deed itself, take it to a lawyer and have them look it over with you and your other sister. Mention all the details you mentioned here - exactly what you want to do with the property, any correspondence you've had with your sister, and where the property is located.

We can't give you any advice without being able to see the deed, and we're not qualified to give any advice outside of 'get a lawyer', because we're not lawyers. Get one, and arm him with as much information about the situation as possible.

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If she is a legitimate owner, you can't force her to sell her interest in the house. You can communicate indirectly with her, perhaps through a lawyer, and see if she is willing to sign something authorizing you to sell. Unless she is mentally incompetent, you will likely have a very difficult time of proceeding with a legal challenge. At minimum she should be paying you rent, if she is the sole occupant, and if she is unwilling to let you live in the house or pay you rent as co-owners, you could possibly proceed with a suit along those lines.

This is a good example of why it's not ideal to co-own a home with someone you aren't legally married to, including a relative or someone you are dating, because there is no (relatively) simple process similar to divorce which determines the allocation of property in the case of a serious dispute. If living together, it may be preferable to have one party own the home and rent it to another. If inherited, it may be preferable for one party to buy out the others and rent it back to them or arrange for a portion of any money made through the sale or rental of the home.

Best of luck - I hope you are able to reach an agreeable outcome.

  • "If she is a legitimate owner, you can't force her to sell her interest in the house. " That's not true. See "partition lawsuit". – Acccumulation Mar 28 at 21:43

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