By: Justin C. Carlin
At some point in their lives, many people will purchase a piece of real property with another person (or several other people), perhaps as part of a business venture, or perhaps to establish a marital residence. On other occasions, a person inherits a partial interest in property along with his or her family members. Many of these arrangements turn out badly because the interested parties disagree over how the property should be used. Disputes arise, for example, regarding who should be permitted to live in the property and whether the property should be sold.
When my clients find themselves in this type of a situation, I typically advise them to bring an action for partition of property under Florida Statutes Chapter 64. Florida Statutes Chapter 64 is entitled “Partition of Property” and creates a cause of action for partition, or “compulsory partition.” “The action may be filed by any one or more of several joint tenants, tenants in common, or coparceneres, against their cotenants, coparceners, or other interested in the lands to be divided.” Fla. Stat. § 64.031 (2011). If the plaintiff prevails in the action, then the Court will order the property sold (usually at public auction) and will direct that the proceeds from the sale be divided among the property owners according to their respective interests in the property. There are virtually no defenses to the cause of action, so the risk of losing is practically non-existent. By statute, every party to the action (plaintiffs and defendants alike) is required “to pay a share of the costs, including attorneys’ fees to plaintiff’s or defendant’s attorneys or to each of them commensurate with their services rendered and of benefit to the partition, to be determined on equitable principles in proportion to the party’s interest.” See Fla. Stat. § 64.081 (2011).
If you need to consult with a Fort Lauderdale real estate attorney regarding a real estate dispute, then please feel free to contact our firm at (954) 764-6766 to schedule an appointment.