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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    How to legally split a parcel of land with two co owners?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    New York

    I live in florida but the land is in new york and the other owner lives in ny but in a different county. This is 13.98 plus or minus acres and was purchased in 1976. I have gotten two different opinions about whether i can sue him to sign in order to petition the planning board to sever the land (it meets the basic criteria almost exactly). He doesnt wish to do this. Can he stop me from owning and selling my own land??? How to go about all this. Can it be done from out of state?? I need some legal advice in the catskills area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    You can sue for a partition. The result of that depends on whether the land is practically partitionable (with this much it might be). If it can't be divided, the result of the partition suit will be to force the sale of the land and the proceeds will be what is partitioned.

    It's almost always preferable to negotiate something (one person buying the other out, joint sale, or partition) rather than having to go through the expense of the court case and the resulting court-induced action.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I have gotten two different opinions about whether I can sue him to petition the planning board to sever the (jointly owned) land. He doesn’t wish to do this.
    If you received an opinion that you can legally compel the other cotenant to submit the issue of the division of the land to the Planning Board, or any other body other than a court of law, then that opinion was incorrect.

    Moreover, even if he were to agree to have it split in two by the Board, the cotenancy relationship wouldn’t be altered. You’d just be cotenants of two parcels instead of one.

    Can he stop me from . . . selling my own land?
    The answer is clearly no. Neither he nor anyone else can prevent you from selling your interest in the land. But what does your “land” consist of?

    What you don’t seem to realize is that as a cotenant your “interest” is an undivided interest. Which is what this dispute is all about.

    In other words, you don’t own a specific portion or number of acres of the 13.98 acres. You each own an undivided one half of the 13.98 acres.

    (I say each owns an undivided 1/2 by assuming that the deed of conveyance by which the property was acquired jointly did not specify disproportionate interests.)

    So each cotenant is free to sell their respective undivided interest, provided that is, someone is dumb enough to buy it and take on the same frustrations you are experiencing.

    As FR wrote, if you two can’t break the log jam and come to terms on the disposition of the parcel - either cut it up with cross quitclaim deeds or sell it - then your only legal recourse is to file a petition for partition of real property.

    But a partition suit is a complicated and timely process, particularly so under the laws of New York. (Maybe even more so than California.) Plus, it would cost of you an arm and leg in legal fees!

    And if the court appoint commission reports that the property is not so circumstanced where it can be fairly physically divided, the court could order the whole acreage sold at a public auction.

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