Myrtle Beach, SC asked in Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania

Q: I own a parcel of ground with my ex wife and my daughter can they lease the parcel without my permission?

I own a parcel of ground with my ex wife and my daughter. can they lease the ground without my permission?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Rachel Lea Hunter
Rachel Lea Hunter
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: There's legal and there's quasi-legal. Should they? No. Can they? Maybe.

To be valid and binding, a lease should be signed by the tenant and all the owners unless one owner has a power of attorney for another owner. The problem is really one from the tenant's perspective because if a tenant has a lease with only one property owner and the others find out about it they are going to be upset and may tell the tenant to get off the land. Then there is the problem of rent - who does the tenant pay rent to? If only one owner has that owner accounted for the profits to the other owners? What about taxes, maintenance, insurance and upkeep? Have all the owners paid their fare share?

Its not a good idea for ex-spouses to own land together. What are you all planning to do with this parcel? Is it vacant land? Or does it have a house on it? Who has been paying the taxes and taking the responsibility for the land? What is your relationship with the ex-wife? Cordial? Or uncommunicative?

The answers to these questions will depend on what you do next. If you don't get along with the ex-wife and daughter and don't take a role in actively managing the land, maybe the best thing would be for them to buy out your share of the land for whatever it is worth. On the other hand, if you all get along swell and can agree on what is to be done with land, maybe convey the land to a corporation or trust or family partnership with the corporation/trust/partnership owning the land and all family members sitting on the board and allowing the corporation/trust/partnership to rent out the land and have the money go into first maintaining the land (taxes - repairs whatever) and that the owners on the board all get a share of the profits.

Getting back to your question - if this is a piece of land and you have not been living there and really involved, it is not outside the realm of possibility that ex-wife and daughter say moved out of the house and are now renting it out. There are no laws of which i am aware that require notice and the tenant may or may not even know that you are an owner or think to check the deeds. So is it possible that the land is rented out without your knowledge? Yes.

I think if the communication with ex-wife and daughter is strained then you had better find out what is going on with the property. If the property has been leased out, you need to find out for how long and you might want to consult a real estate litigation attorney to get your share of any profits and/or help you with any partition action if your ex-wife and daughter refuse to buy you out and account for the profits.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.