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Welcome to the O'Sullivan & Zacchea Law Blog! Check back regularly for practical legal tips on real estate, trust and estates, elder law and other everyday legal matters. 

  • New York Proposes Changes to the Partition Law

    PARTITION SEP 16th 2019

                 The 2019 proposed changes to the partition law are designed to deal with family members who co-own property and one family member wants to sell the property while the other does not. The intent of the law is to ensure that family members who co-own property are not taken advantage of by property speculators who may buy one family member's interest in order to start a partition action and force the other co-owner to sell their interest in the property at a below market value.

    The big three proposed changes to the Partition law in 2019 are:

    (1) The court will require that family members who are co-owners of property negotiate in good faith to see if one owner can buy out the other owner.

    (2) If the parties cannot agree on the value of the property the court will seek to have the property appraised.

    (3) If the parties cannot reach a settlement and the court does order a sale by partition then the property will now be sold on the open market with the assistance of a real estate broker rather than at auction. This change was made in order to get the highest value for the property.

    The Bill has now been sent to the Governor for signature.

    As noted in our previous blog article (Partition: Forcing the Sale of Jointly Owned Property). When two or more parties jointly own property and one party wishes to sell the property while the other does not the party wishing to sell may file a lawsiut seeking a partition of the property. This type of lawsuit has become more popular as property values have increased and more siblings inherit property that they want to sell but that their siblings/co-owenrs do not. While you still have the right to force the sale of jointly owned property, the state legislature wants to make sure that family members have the option to first buy out one another's interest before selling the property to a third party.

    If you own property with another person and have reached an impass with a co-owner you may need to start a partition action. Please feel free to call O'Sullivan & Zacchea at (718) 713-3499 for a free consultation with Kevin O'Sullivan. You can also contact us by e-mail at: kosullivan@ozatlaw.com.   

  • Partition: Forcing the Sale of Jointly Owned Property

    Partition: Forcing the Sale of Jointly Owned Property

    If you own a piece of property with someone in New York and have come to find this co-ownership situation unbearable or undesirable, you can force the other party to sell the property even if they do not wish to do so. Under the law, this remedy is commonly referred to as a partition action ("partition"). 

    While many individuals are unaware or unfamiliar with this process, it is a viable option for those who can no longer tolerate or afford co-owning property with another person. Typically, the courts will not require you to give a reason as to why the property much be sold. All a party bring a partition action must prove is that they are a legal co-owner of the property at the time the action is started. 

    Usually, you may have come to co-own property as a result of a business venture or if you and a relative took title to a home as a result of inheritance. As such, there are two different types of relief you can seek in a partition action.

    The First-- Partition in Kind

    A partition in kind physically divides the property so that each party has their own parcel of land and an undivided interest in that parcel. A simple example of this distribution would be if 100 acres were owned by two business partners. After a partition action, the land is divided into two and each party owns 50 acres. 

    The Second--Partition by Sale

    Partition in kind is best suited for unimproved land, such as fields or open spaces. However, when land is "improved", where a house or building has been developed, it becomes more difficult to achieve an equal distribution of the property. In these situations, the home or building may have to be sold to complete the partition action. The home or building is sold at auction and the co-owners divide the proceeds between them after the sale is finalized. This is the most common type of partition action in New York City. 

    Should you find yourself in a position where a co-owner does not feel the same way you do about the sale of a home or building, please feel free to call O'Sullivan & Zacchea at (718) 713-3499 for a free consultation with Kevin O'Sullivan. You can also contact us by email at Kosullivan@ozatlaw.com. 

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