Partition Action in Pennsylvania
Written by: Natalie Klyashtorny
When more than one person owns an interest in Pennsylvania real estate, and the owners can’t agree on the management or sale of the property, a special type of equity proceeding called Partition Action is the way to resolve the issues in court.
Buying a property with a significant other, friend, business partner, or relative can be a rewarding, worthwhile investment for many reasons. However, if the relationship were to eventually turn sour for whatever reasons, undoing the jointly titled deed can pose serious problems, particularly when a mortgage is involved. If the co-owners cannot amicably dispose of one interest or the other through a buyout, or cannot agree to sell the property outright, a judicial partition action may be the only available recourse. When more than one person owns an interest in Pennsylvania real estate, and the owners can’t agree on the management or sale of the property, a special type of equity proceeding called Partition Action is the way to resolve the issues in court.
What is a Partition Action?
A partition action is a lawsuit in which a court determines whether a property with two or more owners is to be partitioned or sold. When two or more owners cannot agree on the disposition of the property in question, any of the owners can file a partition action in the appropriate court.
To initiate a partition action in Pennsylvania, a co-owner must file a partition complaint at the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the property is located. The partition complaint will include the names of the co-owners, the property description, the co-owners interest in the property. The partition complaint will also often include claims for damages, such as taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance, or other property-related expenses.
Types of Partitions
When no agreement can be reached between the involved parties, the partition process commences. There are several different ways to partition a property. Below are three of the most common methods employed, though you should carefully consider what course of action is legally and financially the most beneficial.
- Partition by sale – This may also be referred to as a partition by succession or licitation, and it involves selling the shared property to split the proceeds. If the property’s co-owners are unable to agree on the division that allows for both to maintain ownership, this may be the best solution. The proceeds from the sale will typically be divided equally between all parties.
- Partition in kind – A partition in kind agreement effectively separates the property into parts that are individually owned and managed by each party. This is typically the simplest solution, but if there is animosity between the property’s owners, it is often difficult to come to a consensus.
- Judicial partition – In some cases, partitions are not voluntary at all. A judicial partition, which one might also call a compulsory or court-ordered partition, is an example of this. Some of the various reasons for involuntary partitioning of your property include public policy or statutes of limitations. No matter what the reason is, you should become familiar with your legal rights if you are facing this situation.
While an individual can file and go through the partition process on their own, it is a highly technical legal action with many specific court requirements to be met. We recommend bringing such actions through experienced legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected.
At Nochumson P.C., we are more than legal counsel. We are people serving our neighbors and community in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Knowing that real communication between real people can help lead to real positive results, our team of attorneys are available 24/7 to help answer your legal questions and to fight for you with skill and fortitude, whatever the case may be. When you hire us, you can expect a sensible and cost-effective approach to legal counsel. We think fast, think ahead, and get things done. Contact us today or call us at (215) 399-1346 to see how we can represent you.