Articles Tagged with Multiple owners

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-2-300x300A motion to determine title is a motion to the court requesting that the court establish title to a piece of real property. Typically, a motion to determine title shows up in the court as a quiet title action. A quiet title action is brought when a litigant seeks to establish that they have an ownership interest in the subject property and refute any adverse claims against the litigant. It follows that to prevail on a motion to determine title; one must show that they hold some ownership interest in the subject property. 

The law surrounding a motion to determine title is codified in Code of Civil Procedure section 760.030. Under section 760.030, when establishing or quieting title is in issue in an action or proceeding, the court may, upon motion of any party, require that the issue be resolved pursuant to the provisions of the code of civil procedure relating to quiet title actions. (CCP § 760.030.) At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with partition actions and the step-by-step process of pursuing a partition. 

What is a Quiet Title Action

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-1-300x300Yes, but only in specific circumstances. When thinking of lawsuits, most people associate them with individuals. John may sue Mary for battery, for example. But this isn’t always the case. A large part of the law is devoted to virtual representation because some people, like minors, simply cannot file suit. 

This is where guardians and conservators come into play. These are officers that can be appointed or approved by the court and whose sole responsibility is the management of a person or thing on their behalf. Commonly, we associate conservators with property and guardians with people, but the differences are, in actuality, quite minute. 

Partitions are lawsuits that seek to divide up the shared equity in a property. But what happens when one of the owners is a minor or so elderly that they cannot manage the property on their own? At Underwood Law Firm, we have the answers. Our attorneys are more than familiar with partitions and the complexities such lawsuits can entail, particularly when conservatorships or trusts are involved. With our attorneys at your side, you can be sure that we will best assist you in achieving your litigation objectives. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-300x300Co-ownership of property brings with it many rights and duties under the law. These rights and duties can vary depending on whether co-owners hold property as tenants in common or joint tenants; these are the two most popular forms of joint ownership in the state. Regardless of the ownership scheme, however, both forms of cotenancy share the same indisputable right: the right of possession. (Bakanauskas v. Urdan (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 621, 628-630.) 

The right to possession is straightforward. Whether a co-owner holds a 1% or 99% ownership interest, they are nonetheless entitled to occupy the whole of the property if they so choose. (Dabney v. Dabney (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 379, 382.) Of course, the “right” often does not meet the practicalities of the situation. To that end, co-owners have developed “TIC” agreements, wherein they agree to limit their right to occupy the jointly owned premises. 

TIC agreements, too, seem straightforward enough, but they became the subject of controversy when used with rental properties. Due to California’s skyrocketing housing costs, some co-owners of rental units enacted TICs amongst themselves so that each could have the exclusive right to occupancy (ERO) in particular dwelling units within the rental property. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300In most cases, no. Instead, the statute of limitations most frequently bars a partition action when a party’s rights to the property have lapsed due to an ouster. 

What is a Partition Action?

A partition action is an action brought by a co-owner of a piece of real property against another co-owner, seeking to divide the property according to the respective interests of the co-owners. Typically, a property is partitioned in one of two ways. A partition by sale, where the subject property is sold, and the proceeds of the sale are split according to the respective interests of the titleholders. A physical partition physically divides the subject property into separate parcels in accordance with the respective interests. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-4-300x300“Joint tenancy” is a phrase that most people associate with the co-ownership of a property. And indeed, this is correct. Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership in California, second only to tenancies-in-common in terms of popularity. But just because the words “joint tenancy” are used in a deed or other property-related document does not mean one actually exists. 

For a joint tenancy to be “true” means its effects fully apply. At a minimum, ownership percentages between the owners need to be equal, and the right of survivorship has to be present between the parties. What’s more, is that if any of the statutory or legal requirements associated with its creation are missing, then the joint tenancy does not exist, and it cannot be “true.” 

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in co-tenancy and the various forms it can take, including joint tenancy. The rights and duties that follow each of these ownership schemes are unique, making them a key issue in real estate litigation. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-1-300x300In California, in many partition actions, the court may enter an interlocutory judgment of partition, whereby there is an entry of judgment for partition. As opposed to a final judgment, an interlocutory judgment is a temporary judgment that is issued during the litigation of a case rather than after trial.

In general, interlocutory judgments are judgments entered before a trial comes to an end. “An interlocutory judgment or order is a provisional determination of some or all issues in the cause.” (7 Witkin, Cal. Procedure, supra, Judgement, § 12, p. 548.) Witkin identifies three different types of interlocutory judgments that exist.

The motion for an interlocutory judgment is a common issue in partition actions. Specifically, under Code of Civil Procedure section 872.720, the court must enter an interlocutory judgment when the court finds that the Plaintiff in a partition action is entitled to a partition. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the interlocutory judgment and requirements needed to get an interlocutory judgment. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300In most breach of contract actions, the court must find that a valid contract has been created. There are several requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to have an enforceable contract. In certain circumstances, evidence of the existence of a contract in writing is required for the contract to be valid.

In general, contracts are not required to be in writing; oral contracts are enforceable. However, under the Code of Civil Procedure section 1624, certain contracts are required to be in writing. Code of Civil Procedure section 1624 is also known as the Statute of Frauds, and it renders certain contracts invalid if there is no writing to evidence the terms of the contract.

Code of Civil Procedure section 1624 sets forth a list of different categories of contracts that, per the Statute of Frauds, are required to be in writing. Specifically, there are seven types of contracts defined by section 1624 that a party to a breach of contract lawsuit should be aware of. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the Statute of Frauds and the writing requirements for a contract.   

Underwood-Blog-Images-300x300In California, business enterprises can take many forms (LLCs, corporations, partnerships, etc.). But perhaps the most unique is the “joint venture,” a special entity that, more often than not, is imposed by courts as a matter of law. This is because a joint venture is simply an “undertaking by two or more persons jointly to carry out a single business enterprise for profit.” (Unruh-Haxton v. Regents of University of California (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 343, 370.) 

Joint ventures can be thought of as informal general partnerships, lacking the formalities of partnership agreements and usually lasting for a shorter duration. That said, they nonetheless carry the same fiduciary duties and responsibilities associated with partnerships in California. Moreover, the statutes within the Revised Uniform Partnership Act apply with equal force to both types of entities. (Chambers v. Kay (2002) 29 Cal.4th 142, 151.) 

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in the law behind joint ventures and partnerships, particularly as these entities relate to real estate projects. With our skills, we stand ready to help all of our clients achieve their litigation goals. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-5-300x300The deed to a property is the most important document a property owner has. It describes the title and its associated rights while operating as the conveyance of property itself. For that reason, the law presumes the validity of deeds without defects on their face. But that does not mean that every deed is legally valid and not subject to cancellation.

In California, there exists a special type of remedy that allows for deeds to be canceled. This, however, is a rare outcome. The deed itself must be void or voidable in order for this to occur. The Underwood Law Firm is well-versed in these types of cancelation claims and holds the skills to help our clients achieve their litigation goals.

What is a deed?

Underwood-Blog-Images-2-300x300In most partition actions, the court appoints a partition referee in order to see that the property is sold or properly divided. The job of a Partition referee requires one to carry out several responsibilities and obligations. The purpose of this article is to provide some information on a partition referee’s duties and authority under the partition statutes.   

What is a Partition? 

A Partition action is a lawsuit that seeks to distribute equally a piece of property or sell said property and distribute the proceeds of the sale equally among the titleholders of the property. The rules governing Partition actions are set forth in the California Civil Code of Procedure.    

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