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Alhambra Partition Lawyers

During the mid-19th century, the City of Alhambra was founded as a suburb of Los Angeles. The land's owner, Bernardo Yorba, named the city after his daughter's favorite book, Tales of the Alhambra, by Washington Irving. Alhambra was later incorporated on July 11, 1903. Known as the "city of homes," many of the homes in Alhambra have historical significance with a variety of architectural styles. Today, Alhambra's housing market is very competitive and those who jointly own homes and feel the need to sell may run into disputes with co-owners. Generally, a partition action is the best remedy for disputing co-owners in four broad categories:

  • Split real estate dispute;
  • Brother-Sister real estate dispute;
  • Investor-Investor real estate dispute; and
  • Significant other real estate dispute

Partition actions are governed by the principles of equity. In every partition action, there must be a final accounting, including the credits and debits to each cotenant. Credits may "include expenditures in excess of the cotenant's fractional share for necessary repairs, improvements that enhance the value of the property, taxes, payments of principal and interest on mortgages, and other liens, insurance for the common benefit, and protection and preservation of title." (Wallace v. Daley (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 1028, 1035.) Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed a party's evidentiary burden in justifying a claim for reimbursement in a case decided by the Sixth District Court of Appeal known as Colmet-Daage v. Cremoux (2021) 2021 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 2208.

There, a wife and husband took title to property as joint tenants and later when the couple separated, the wife recorded a Declaration of Severance of Joint Tenancy, making both parties tenants in common. The husband then sought a partition action and the trial court ordered the partition. While the Property was being sold, the wife moved to receive a credit of $200,000 from the sales proceeds based on her assertion of posttrial repairs and improvements. The trial court denied her motion, finding that the wife had not established that the posttrial work increased the property value. The wife appealed.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that "a court of equity is required to take into account the improvements which another cotenant, at his or her own cost in good faith, placed on the property which enhanced its value and to award such cost to him or her." (Mercola v. Chester (1950) 97 Cal.App.2d 140, 143.) The Appellate Court determined that since the wife's improvements did not enhance the property value, the court was not required to credit any of those improvements Further, because some of her receipts were mere estimates with no proof of payment, some of the improvements were not required by building codes, and the expenditures enhanced only her own enjoyment and use of the Property as she solely occupied the premises, the Appellate Court held that she failed to meet her evidentiary burden to justify the requested reimbursement. Thus, Colmet-Daage explains the importance of being able to satisfy one's evidentiary burden when seeking reimbursement in a partition action.

How the Underwood Law Firm, P.C. Can Help

In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact the experienced Alhambra Partition Lawyers at the Underwood Law Firm, P.C. as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.

Client Reviews
“We were in need of a real estate attorney. Eli Underwood provided excellent legal advice and services. He explained everything well and followed through with all important issues that needed attention. We found him to be reliable, courteous, patient and extremely professional. We highly recommend Mr. Underwood without any reservations.” I.S.
"I own a real estate investment company that operates across multiple states (California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and more), whenever I run into an issue that needs legal attention, Eli is my first call. I've been working with him for years. He is an amazing attorney and I highly recommend him." Thank you for your help Sir!" T.W.
"Mr. Underwood is a fantastic Lawyer with extraordinary ethics. He responds quickly, which is rare these days, and he is very knowledgeable in his craft. It was a pleasure working with him and we will definitely use his services in the future if needed. Thank you for your help Sir!" M.O.
"Eli took our case and controlled every hurdle put before us. I one time commented to him that he must love his job because it seemed that he was always available. When talking about my case to anyone I always bring up where, I believe, the other parties Lawyer tried to take advantage of my wife and me. Eli stopped him in his tracks. On top of it being easy to work with Eli, it was a pleasure to have had him represent us. We were in good hands." E.T
"We were in need of an attorney with considerable knowledge of real estate law and the legal issues related to property ownership. Eli Underwood went above and beyond our expectations. In keeping us abreast of our suit, his communication skills were outstanding. This talent was especially demonstrated when dealing with the apposing counsel. We feel this gave us a tremendous advantage over the opposing party that resulted in us reaching a successful outcome. I would highly recommend Eli Underwood as we found him to be an exceptional attorney." P.B.
"In our need for legal services we found Eli to be well informed and on top of our case and our needs. Our's was not an ordinary case as it was a case with many facets. It was a very convoluted case. There were multiple owners involved in a property dispute where one of the owners sued the rest of the owners with a Partition Suit. Needless to say Eli was instrumental in helping us resolve our differences and gained us a profitable sale all with good end results for all. If you hire Eli Underwood you will not be disappointed!" M.A.