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A co-owner can force a sale of a home

A common problem that we see today is when two or more people own a home and one of them refuses to sell. Whether it is in the context of an estate or family dispute, often the party who refuses to sell the property wants to buy out the other's interest. The proposition is usually less than fair market value and parties are ultimately unable to come to a resolution. This is when the owner who wants to sell asks a lawyer for assistance in making an application under the Partition Act, RSO 1990, c. P.4 for the partition (the physical division of the land) or a sale of the shared property.

The law in Ontario is that an owner has a prima facie right to partition and sale, regardless of whether their real estate interests are as joint tenants or tenants in common. The other owner, in turn, has a corresponding obligation to permit the sale. Usually, the only circumstances where a court will not allow a partition or sale is if there are vexatious, oppressive or malicious conduct.

When there are competing partition proposals by the owners, the court will consider all the circumstances, including:

· the extent to which the parties agree on aspects of the proposed partition; and

· the past and present use of the property by the parties.

An application for the sale of a property is more common than partition because rarely do parties want to physically divide the property. When a sale is obtained by an application to the court, the proceeds are divided between the co-owners.

If you want help with an application for partition and sale, the lawyers at Vice & Hunter LLP are experienced in this matter and would be happy to discuss your case with you.

Contact Me

To reach the author of this blog, Bill Hunter, email [email protected] or call 613.232.5773 x 223.

Bill is the head of the Litigation Team at Vice & Hunter LLP. He has appeared before all the trial courts in Ontario and the Ontario Court of Appeal.

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