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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 53684
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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My boyfriend and I bought a vacation house together. He is

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My boyfriend and I bought a vacation house together. He is now married to someone else. We have a MEMBERSHIP INTEREST AND REDEMPTION AGREEMENT, which he has now violated. One clause stipulates we are to keep a checking account that each of us deposit $200.00 a month in to cover taxes, insurance, upkeep and maintenance. He has closed that account and does say he will send me 1/2 of balance. However, the vacation house is on the market to sell, he says he is washing his hands of it. So now I have the full responsibility of maintaining, covering all expenses etc. We paid cash for it, each $55,000. He wants his money back when it sales, but wants no part of maintaining it or using it. What are my options?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. He does not get the benefits of ownership without the burdens. He owes his 1/2 of the expenses. Unless you each gave each other a lien on the other's interest in case of a breach of your agreement, you would not simply be able to take his interest directly. But, since he has failed to pay these, file suit against him for his share. This will give you the leverage and collection options you need. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to attach bank accounts,have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment. Included within those options are to place a lien on his interest in the vacation home to collect the judgment and then to foreclose on that lien to take his interest.

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So in other words, just breaking the contract (membership interest and redemption agreement) does nothing for me right now. I have to incur the expenses before I can do anything. Is that correct?

Thanks for following up. Since he has not paid, you can file suit immediately because he has not paid. Unfortunately, with co-ownership, the failure of one party to pay does put the other in a bind because until you get your judgment, you are put in the position of having to pay to avoid being in default and risking foreclosure. In the future, if you ever do something like this, you want to give each other a lien on each other's interest to secure their obligations so you can immediately commence foreclosure on the interest rather than having to sue first for your judgment.

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you could simply take his interest, but, I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you. ………..I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I still don't understand about the other question Since he broke the agreement, is the whole agreement void. In other words, if I rent it out, (nothing is specified in the agreement about renting) will I have to pay him 1/2 of the proceeds from renting?

Unfortunately, a default under the agreement, absent a provision in the agreement regarding a lien or forfeiture of his interest, does not cause him to automatically lose his interest. Thus, you would legally require his consent to rent the property. In reality, what happens in many cases is that one party does often lease the property without the other's consent when one party has basically is no longer paying their share. If you were to do so, you would be able to deduct all the expenses from the rent first, but subsequent to that, he would be entitled to 1/2 of any excess proceeds.
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