Disagreements can arise when real property is co-owned by multiple individuals. This could involve commercial real estate ventures where the parties can’t agree as to the proper use or management of the property. It could also involve family members who inherit real property and have different ideas about what to do with it. In these situations, Arizona provides for the right to partition to the property. Partitioning the property allows the parties to dissolve their joint ownership by dividing the property, or selling it and splitting the proceeds.
Arizona’s Partitioning Statute
A.R.S. § 12-1211 provides that an owner of real property can compel a partition of the property by filing a complaint in superior court in the county where the property is situated. The complaint should describe the property, list the co-owners and their addresses, and state the respective interests of each owner.
The right to compel partition does not require a legitimate reason or any reason for the partitioning. Arizona law gives this right to anyone who jointly owns real estate and follows the applicable procedures.
The court will appoint three or more commissioners that are charged with dividing or selling the property. A.R.S. § 12-1215. The commissioners attempt to divide the property, noting the respective interest of each party along with the advantages and quantity of the land in each tract.
Partition in Kind or by Sale
In some cases, real property cannot realistically be divided, such as a single family home. In other cases, dividing the property may cause the overall value to depreciate. In these situations, the commissioners may state to the court that it is not practical to partition the land, and that the land should instead be sold. A.R.S. § 12-1218.
The commissioners will then be charged with facilitating the sale of the property, as directed by the court. The proceeds generally will be divided based on the respective ownership interests, but sometimes issues arise that compel the parties to request additional compensation. If one co-owner took on a greater share of the costs of maintaining the property, or if one owner kicked another off of the property, the parties may be able to argue that they are entitled to additional funds from the sale.
Chernoff Law handles real estate litigation matters throughout Arizona, including partitioning cases. Contact us at 480-719-7307 to discuss your real estate matters.