Providence, RI asked in Real Estate Law for Rhode Island

Q: R.I. law that allows a tenant in common owner of property to sell its share w/o permission from the other cotenants.

Also, can a tenant in common ask any amount for its share where no pre-existing agreement exists betw the tenants

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2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
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A: Tenants In Common almost always have a right to sue for a Sale For Partition. The Court ordered Sale price is for the whole property, which is then disbursed according to the order. Each Tenant normally gets the same after expense share, although sometimes there are equitable adjustments.

Albin Moser
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  • Providence, RI
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: Yes, there is a Rhode Island that allows a common owner to sell the property, by bringing a civil action called a petition for partition and sale. The court will first review whether the property can be divided (partitioned) into a separate parcel of land for the petitioner. If so, then that is the remedy, and the petitioner can then sell that separate parcel. If the property cannot be divided into separate parcels of land because it is too small or there is not enough road access, then the court will decide that the whole property should be sold and the proceeds divided between the common owners. The property is then listed on the open market and sold by an agent. The proceeds of the sale are divided according to the common owners's percentage of ownership. If two joint owners, then 50/50 (after costs).

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