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.