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socallegalwork, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 144
Experience:  Attorney and licensed real estate broker (and Certified Distressed Property Expert), specializing in real estate matters.
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I own a home in Vero Beach and my sister rents from me. In

Customer Question

I own a home in Vero Beach and my sister rents from me. In 2007 I added her to the deed and she continued to rent from me. 3 years ago she stopped paying the agreed upon amount. In 36 months she had paid only 10 months rent. I filed an eviction with Indian River Circuit Court but I am finding out that because she is on the deed, I cannot evict her. What is my course of action? Maggie Dunne
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: yes
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: A hearing is scheduled for 10/17
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 6 months ago.

Hello. I believe I can assist you.

The hearing on title pertains to the eviction action you filed?

I think you are going to find a straightforward eviction is no longer in the cards, so to speak, now that she is on title. Do you have any form of enforceable agreement with her where she agreed to pay rent? If so, you can bring a breach of contract/lease action against her for the money (though evicting her would remain a problem because she is now an owner and has a right to occupy the premises).

If you cannot resolve this dispute, owners of property can bring an action against the other owners to partition a property. The problem is that this almost always results in a forced sale of the property with each owner receiving a portion of the proceeds.

Alternatively, perhaps you can discuss some agreement to buy her out? If that is not an option, you can certainly always assert your own rights to occupy the property (or lease the property to other tenants if there are multiple bedrooms). Perhaps that would convince her to resolve the issue in a reasonable fashion.

Unfortunately, when she was added to the deed, that significantly changed her rights, and impacted your rights, regarding the property.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
she went to Legal Aid and they filed her motions for her. I have copies I can upload. The motion is to dismiss as I have filed a tenant eviction not a dispute between owners. I have the original lease and the deposits she has made over the last 12 years.
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 6 months ago.

Okay. So options remaining include: 1. You can sue for a breach of lease/contract, claiming she breached the contract by failing to pay the agreed rent and seeking a money judgment (but you probably can't get a judgment for possession actually kicking her out). 2. File a suit seeking to partition the property, which will likely result in a forced sale. The court will issue an order, a real estate professional will have to be agreed on to handle things, an appraisal will be done, one side can always try and buy out the other side if that is an option.

You can file a complaint alleging several causes of action. If your sister is found to owe you money, that would be taken into account when you are fighting over what percentage of the proceeds of a sale you are each due.

I am sorry, I don't have a happier option to provide you at this point. But your sister's motion is likely to succeed- this is now a dispute between co-owners.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your assistance. As I read the motion I realized that I would not succeed. But I also knew there should be a remedy for me as well. On a side note, my parents gave my sister $25,000 with the express verbal condition she was to straighten out this issue between us. Unfortunately she decided to only give me $325 instead of $9,180. And that is why I stared the eviction. Do you think I need to bring a lawyer to the hearing?
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 6 months ago.

I would certainly consult an attorney about your legal options moving forward. It doesn't hurt, especially if you are going to consult an attorney anyway, to get them involved earlier rather than later.

Perhaps, you can apply informal pressure as well through your family while you pursue legal options?

It is unfortunate whenever these kinds of disputes arise between family.

Best of luck to you!

Expert:  socallegalwork replied 6 months ago.

Do you have any further questions on what we have discussed? If so, please let me know. Otherwise, please remember to rate my service so we know your question is answered.

Thank you.

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