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stevexo, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1000
Experience:  30 years helping those with Family legal needs
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My brother and I have a dispute over the use of family property.

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My brother and I have a dispute over the use of family property. The property was passed from our father to his 4 sons. One son passed in 1995. The youngest is indifferent to the use of the property. I am currently living in the property but my younger brother wants to rent the property.
The property is located in Virginia. My brother lives in Los Angeles, CA. He has not helped with any finances toward maintaining the property. The property is in need of work to get in condition to rent. My brother feels that since I am living in the property and it is not erning an income that I am responsible for any work needed.
1. Can I be forced to move?
2. What rights are involved?
32 years of family law litigation. Understanding of your concerns,and a good legal knowledge base. Hi glad to help. I see that you have already tried speaking to your Brother and that did not work. I am glad to see that you did try and work it out prior to getting legal opinions, as many times they can be settled this way. When they can't, the law that applies, and the rights involved to you, would be the following: That originally all 4 of you each own a quarter of the property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. Upon the unfortunate demise of your one Brother, you then each hold a one third interest in the home, irregardless of who is living their, or for that matter even taking care of the property. Upon the unfortunate death of your Father, and then your Brother, the 3 of you are Joint Tenants with the right of Survivorship. A good example of what exemplifies this, is when the one Brother passed away, his portion of the property then went by operation of law to the 3 Brothers left. All 3 of you have an equal duty towards the residence, and no one has more power or control then the other, as each have an equal one third. Now you might want to explain to your Brother that what happens in this type of case where one residence is held by multiple people who cannot agree to the use of the property, is a Partition Action. Thus one party can always move the court to claim his one third interest through a partition action, and the outcome usually would be a court ordered sale of the property and each get a third of the proceeds. In this Market, that is not how I would want to sell my home, as it perhaps could be sold at less than market value when it is sold from the courthouse steps. Thus it is in all Brother's best interest to be reasonable and try and agree, or there will be a partition action eventually by one or more Brothers, as property like this cannot just be cut in half, like many other type of items.You could only be forced to move if there was a court order removing you from the premises. In the absence of a domestic violence injunction against you going to the residence, or a partition action order, no one has the right to remove you, or order you out of the property. I do though, think that if you are living their, and getting the sole use and benefit of the home, that it is very reasonable that while you are doing this that you be responsible for most of the upkeep. That is a decent trade for the exclusive use and possession of property that you only really have a one third interest in. That should give you a good understanding of the law, and perhaps if explained properly to your Brother,could save you all allot of aggravation and money. Good Luck, Steve
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your responce. This is pretty much what I thought. As for the maintenance, I have been maintaining the property since 2006. I do take care of most of the upkeep. My issue is with major repair of the building. The bathroom floor is in bad condition. I would not want to rent this place like it is.

Should I alone be responsible for the repairs of the structure?

No,and that would not be equatable either. Major repairs that are necessary to keep the home in a condition for resale, meaning the absence of substantial defects, should be split between all owners. In this case that would mean all 3 Brothers. But I caution that the remedy that you have, and the other 2 brothers have also is partition, if some type of agreement cannot be reached. Sincerely, Steve
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