When Family Members Could Not Agree On What To Do With a Property



After the passing of his parents, our client and his brother inherited their family home. Our client moved out of the house, but his brother remained and was left responsible for paying the real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, and other expenses of the property. After the brother, who suffered from mental health issues, stopped paying for the expenses of the family home, our client was forced to step in and incur these expenses himself in order to prevent the home from going into foreclosure. The brother also had ignored his responsibilities as a property owner, allowing the property to fall into a state of woeful disrepair and eventually abandoned the home and moved to another state. Again, our client had to step in and spend his own money on repairing the house.  Since his brother moved out, our client was also responsible for paying all the expenses, including utilities, real estate taxes, and insurance. 

As the house was not marketable for either rent or sale due to the extensive rehabilitation that was still needed, and all communications between the brothers had broken down, our client retained us in order to force a judicial sale. After we were retained, we filed a partition action with the state court, which is a legal proceeding to divide property amongst unmarried individuals that cannot agree on what to do with the property. 

The litigation was initially very difficult, not only due to our client’s brother’s mental health issues but also because he was unrepresented by an attorney. The most troublesome issue was that for an extended period of time the brother refused to agree to have either the property sold or to contribute for repairs.  The brother also disputed the idea that our client would be entitled to reimbursement for the expenses he incurred in connection with the upkeep and maintenance of the property. After much-extended hostility, the brother retained an attorney and we were able to negotiate an amicable agreement by which the house was sold through a private sale. 

Notwithstanding the agreement entered into between the parties, the days leading up to the closing for the sale of the property remained highly stressful and contentious, with the brother threatening to revoke his agreement up until the morning of closing.  Fortunately for our client, we were able to effectuate the closing and sale of the family home, finding a solution that worked for both parties. 

"The team at Nochumson P.C. was very helpful in guiding me through the Partition Action process and the following litigation. Natalie Klyashtorny in particular was extremely compassionate and sensitive to the fact that this was a family matter and that I wanted things handled with as little conflict as possible. She treated me and my case with respect and a much-needed human touch.”

- Adrian Mastrangelo

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