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Three brothers inherited a house, in joint tenancy with right

Resolved Question:

Three brothers inherited a house, in joint tenancy with right of survivorship.

One brother quit claimed his third to our sister, which I think makes her a tenant in common of one third.

The sister's daughter now lives in the house, rent free.

The sister wants to spend several thousand dollars for a new roof.

The two brothers with joint tenancy do not want to spend the money for the roof or other major repairs.

Is there a legal document that could be prepared to ensure that she alone will be liable for any major repairs done without the two brother's permission?

If repairs are made by her without our permission, would the two brothers in joint tenancy be liable if a mechanics lien is placed on the property?

The property is in Iowa, where the sister and my joint tenancy brother lives. I, the other brother in joint tenancy, live in Minnesota.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.

Hello, and thanks for submitting this question. The "legal document" that you refer to would have to be a written agreement, i.e. a contract that says who is to be responsible for payment for major repairs. A contractor can file a mechanics lien for repairs that are not paid for, even though they were ordered by only one joint owner. This will require the services of a local attorney to prepare.

I hope that this information is helpful. Please click on a smiley face so that I will be compensated for assisting you. If you have a follow up question please send me back a Reply without entering any rating. Also, be sure to verify this information with a local attorney who is familiar with your local laws and procedures. Thanks again for using Pearl.Com- Just Answer. Your business is appreciated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

If work was ordered by the tenant in common and the contractor was not paid and a mechanics lien was filed, would the two joint tenants be liable for payment, along with the tenant in common?


 


I assume the lien would run with the title, so would payment plus interest be deducted from the tenant in common's share of the sale price if and when the property was sold ?

Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.
Actually, the property becomes liable for the payment, not the owners personally. If the situation results in a lawsuit over the mechanics lien and/or the result of unauthorized repairs by a co-tenant, the court can adjust the equitable interests of the owners upon sale of the property.I hope this Answer is helpful and that you will give it a positive rating. If you have any follow up questions please send back a Reply. You should consult a local attorney to verify that this information is accurate for your state. Thank you for using Just Answer. We appreciate your business.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. If I understand it correctly, upon the sale of the property, the lien would be satisfied out of the tenant in common's (who ordered the work) one third share.


 


Any contract would have to be signed by all parties, both joint tenants and the tenant in common...correct?


 


Thanks

Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.
The lien may or may not be satisfied only from the one-third owner's share. It depends on what kind of sale it is, and what the court's order for the sale says. Mechanics lien laws are not easy to understand or apply in all situations are not cut and dried one way or another. It's possible that a new roof might add sufficient value to the home that who pays for it is not an issue. A contractor should require the signatures of all owners before doing repairs. What occurs if s/he doesn't isn't always clear under each state's respective mechanics lien statutes and cases. Ideally of course, one joint owner shouldn't contract for major repairs without the consent of the other owners.
I hope this Answer is helpful and that you will give it a positive rating. If you have any follow up questions please send back a Reply. You should consult a local attorney to verify that this information is accurate for your state. Thank you for using Pearl.com- Just Answer. We appreciate your business.
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Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4968
Experience: Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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