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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
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Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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Hi, I co-own a house with a mate and he lives there with his

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Hi, I co-own a house with a mate and he lives there with his girlfriend. The house has just been raided for drugs and they obviously found some stuff because she has to go to court. Since the raid she assumed that it was me and sent me a facebook message abusing me. I have known the drug use has been going on for a while but just don't know what to do. I have wanted to kick her out but since she in the girlfriend of a co-owner I did not know my rights. I have moved out of my house due to her living there. She is psycho!!!! and I did not feel comfortable living in my own home. Please help me!!!
How did you come to co own the property and is there any formal agreement in place governing your rights and obligations as co owners?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We were 2 mates who decided to build a house together. We both lived in it and then he met this girl and then she moved in. Night mate ever since!!! The only formal agreement is we have signed with regard to the house is the home loan.


Hello again.

As co owners both of you are legally entitled to occupy the property and can each invite guests to stay with you, even if the other owner objects.

Unfortunately this does often lead to a situation where one owner will be using the property in a way which the other owner disapproves, or will be having guests which the other owner does not approve. Without a formal agreement as to how to deal with such a situation the unhappy owner has only two legal options. Put up with the problem, or force the sale of the property.

If the other owner or their guests are making your your ownership of the property unbearable, then you do have the option of forcing the sale of the property. To sell the property both owners normally have to agree, but if one of the owners refuses, an application can be made to the Supreme Court which will generally order that the property be sold so that each owner can realise their equity in the property.

With that in mind, I would suggest you discuss your concerns regarding the property with the other owner and make it clear that you will have to press for the sale of the property unless you can reach a satisfactory compromise as to how the property is used, and who is allowed to stay on the property. So you might might indicate that unless the drug use on the premises ceases, or this particular guest ceases residing on the property, you intend to force the sale, and will obtain court orders to that effect if necessary.

Hopefully some compromise can be reached but if not then you will need to either obtain the other owners agreement to sell the property or will need to engage a lawyer to prepare an application to the Supreme Court for the sale of the property.

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for, however, it does reflect the legal reality of your situation and I trust assists your understanding as to how to proceed.

If there is further information or follow up questions you require then please ask and I will try to assist you further, otherwise please rate my answer so that I can be paid by the website operator for my time.

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Thank you and good luck.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So I cannot pack her stuff up and tell her to go? Also we have two other rooms in the house we want to rent out. But she has some stuff in there. Can I ask her to move out of the rooms that she does not actually sleep (rent) in?

If both owners want her out they can demand she leave, but she is allowed to stay if either of you have consented to her staying. This may be unfair, but the law assumes that when parties become joint owners that absent an agreement to the contrary, the parties both have full rights to occupy and live in the premises, and it is irrelevant that one party effectively uses the property more than the other.

The fact you can force the sale of the property, however, does give you considerable leverage to negotiate a compromise with the other owner, but until you do you won't be able to force her to leave unless the other owner also agrees to her leaving.

Please rate my answer.

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