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Lynwood Partition Lawyers

The land of Lynwood belonged to Don Antonio Lugo, who received the land as part of a grant in 1810 and named it Rancho San Antonio. C.H. Sessions later acquired title to the land and established a dairy and creamery named the “Lynwood Dairy and Creamery” after his wife, Miss Lynne Wood. The city was then named Lynwood. Today, Lynwood’s housing market is somewhat competitive with the average sale price of a home on the rise. Residents of Lynwood who own homes may want to sell their homes to get the best value. However, jointly owned real estate may become a problem if a dispute arises between co-owners.

What Is a Partition Action?

A partition is an action brought by a property owner seeking the court to force the sale of a jointly owned piece of real property. Typically, partition actions occur when co-owners of real estate have disputes about its ownership and use, and one of them seeks to end their ownership interest. That is, a partition action has no other purpose than to sever the unity of possession between cotenants in a piece of real property. (Rancho Santa Margarita v. Vail (1938) 11 Cal.2d 501, 539.) Currently, partition actions are governed by the provisions set forth in the Code of Civil Procedure section 872.010. These statutes set out a general process by which a property may be partitioned. 

Historically, the term "partition" comes from the basic word to break into "parts" as in physically dividing real estate in half. For example, if two siblings inherited ten acres of farmland, the property could historically be divided into five acres a piece for each of them. As most people now live in single-family homes, which cannot simply be "split in half," courts will instead order that the property be sold and the proceeds, or equity, be "split in half."

What Are the Steps in the Partition Process?

Broadly, a partition action has only relatively simple steps. First, a party files a lawsuit to establish their rights to the property and desire to sell the property. Second, the court determines that the property should be sold, and appoints a “partition referee” (who is frequently a licensed Realtor) to sell the property. Third, the partition referee markets and sells the property and deposits the proceeds into a trust account. Fourth, the court determines how much each party should receive from the proceeds, which should include addressing offsets and claims for contribution in an “accounting.”

What Are the Common Types of Partition Actions?

Generally, a partition action is the best remedy for disputing co-owners in four broad categories:

  • Family owned real estate where only one party wants to sell;
  • Former romantic partners who jointly own real estate where only one party wants to sell;
  • Jointly owned real estate where only one party wants to sell;
  • Partnership real estate where only one party wants to sell;
What Is an Example of a Partition Lawsuit?

Generally, in a partition action concerning tenants in common, one co-tenant may recover costs for improvements made in excess of the co-tenant’s fractional share of the property. However, the same cannot be said about joint tenancies. Where a partition action concerns a true joint tenancy, the parties are not entitled to reimbursements unless there was a prior agreement. Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed the issue of reimbursements and improvements made to property held jointly in a case decided by the Second District Court of Appeal known as Goss v. Corcoran (2020) 2020 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 1229.

There, Jacqueline Corcoran sued her former co-habitant, Bruce Goss, but the complaint was dismissed before trial. Goss filed a cross-complaint seeking to partition the Property that both parties owned as joint tenants and resided together in for some time. Goss testified that he made all the loan payments, insurance, taxes, utilities, and incurred costs in making improvements to the Property. The parties never discussed or had an agreement about reimbursements or improvements. The trial court held that reimbursements were not allowed in a joint tenancy absent an agreement but found that Goss was entitled to his costs for improvements. Corcoran appealed.

The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that “in a true joint tenancy, neither party has a right for reimbursement for expenses paid, or improvements made to the property, in the absence of an agreement between the parties.” (Milian v. De Leon (1986) 181 Cal.App.3d 1185.) The Court of Appeal held that “while as a rule the act or contract by one joint tenant respecting the joint property without the authority or consent of his cotenant cannot bind or prejudicially affect the latter, where the act of one joint tenant is beneficial to his cotenant, such act will be regarded as the act of all in so far as sharing in the benefit thereof is concerned.” (Crary v. Campbell (1864) 24 Cal. 634.) Because the trial court found that there was a true joint tenancy, and the parties never agreed to any form of reimbursement, Goss was not entitled to the costs he incurred to improve the property. Thus, Goss stresses the importance of setting forth agreements concerning reimbursements and improvements ahead of time when acquiring interests in property as joint tenants.

How Underwood Law Firm Can Help

In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact an experienced Lynwood Partition Lawyer as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.

Learn more here.

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“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.
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"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.