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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 38186
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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I am joint tennants in common on a property with another

Customer Question

I am joint tennants in common on a property with another person. The note is in my name, I have put up 100 of the money. They have judgments coming against them. How can I protect my interest in the property
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

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If you are a joint tenant with someone else, then you each own an undivided 50% interest in the property. If the other person gets a judgment against them, the creditor can file a judgment lien on the property and then foreclose on that lien to force a sale of the property so that they can get at the 50% that the judgment debtor owns.

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So the only way to potentially protect it is to get it out of the debtor's name by them quitclaim deeding it to you or someone else. If the creditor does not find out about the transfer and challenge it as fraud on a creditor, then that would protect it.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is there rebuttal to the presumptive 50% ownership. Meaning we agreed at the time of pruchase, I would provide her a place to live on the property. In return she was would provide interior design and archetectural services. The individual is my fiance's mother. We were never 50/50
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

No, if you put her on the deed, she is a 50% owner... The arrangement for whatever payment that she was to tender for her interest would have been between you two..

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But if you and she are on the deed, you are both exactly equal owners....

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I am sorry that the news isn't better.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I was told by day Pitney that was a presumption that could be rebutted. I assume along the lines of equitable division of property. Have you ever heard of a rebuttal tot he presumption before
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

You could claim that you were just adding the other person to the deed for your convenience and that they really didn't have any ownership interest because they didn't pay anything. But when the creditor challenges that in court, the judge will ask you why you added them to the deed as an owner if you didn't want them to be an owner?

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That is kind of a hard question to answer. You could have just let her live there on the property as a tenant, which is what most people would do if they were just trading lodging for design services. Most landlords don't add their tenants to the deed to make them an owner..

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Tenancy in Common
Tenancy in common also allows multiple owners to own the property. Like joint tenancy in Connecticut, tenancy in common allows for ownership in unequal shares. However, tenancy in common has no right of survivorship. When a tenant in common dies, his share of the property "breaks off" from the rest of the tenancy property, to be taken by his heirs or beneficiaries. Connecticut Code Section 47-36a stipulates that unless language in the instrument creating the co-ownership clearly establishes a right of survivorship, the ownership will be presumed to be a tenancy in common. Thus, tenancy in common is the default form of co-ownership, unless explicit language states otherwise.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

Right.... but that makes zero difference here... a tenant in common still owns 50% unless the deed specifies otherwise.. The joint tenancy just means that if one of you dies, the other becomes the sole owner instantly. With a tenant in common situation, if one owner dies, their 50% goes into their estate and down to their heirs..

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So it is irrelevant for this situation whether the parties are tenants in common or joint tenants....you each own 50% as a matter of law.

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If you didn't want her to become an owner of the property along with you, then you wouldn't have wanted to add her to the deed with you. I am still not sure why that was done...

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
As my soon to be mother in law and considering her sweat equity she was entitled to 10% of the house. She brokered the deal, resolved the zoning and helped with the underwriting. I am the only person on the note. I have invested 500k in capital. We were partners, just not even partners. If I new more about real estate I would have put it on the title. I just didn't know. That doesn't make it untrue. Can you explain the burden of proof to demonstrate that equitable ownership is not 50/50?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

Can you explain the burden of proof to demonstrate that equitable ownership is not 50/50?

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It would be a matter of your and mother's verbal testimony where you both stated that it was simply an error in adding her as a joint tenant on the deed and the true intent was for her to be a 10% owner in the venture.. The burden of proof is 51%....a preponderance of the evidence... that means it was more likely than not..

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But again, this is going to be up to a judge to see if he buys it 51% if the creditor decides to go after the property after getting a judgment against her.. When you are talking about you investing a half million in real estate, it is going to be kind of hard to sell a judge on the claim that you didn't know what you were doing here.

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However, as I mentioned initially, the simplest thing would be for her to quitclaim deed her interest back to you and then see if the creditor missed that transfer.. That is if she would do it to try to protect the property..

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am not a developer. I am a investor. It is not a typical in deal for property development that cash and debt investors hold a great position of ownership than the developer. Can you please refer me to ct statued in relation to this argument
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

I am unable to assist further with your questions.. I will opt out and open the question to other experts..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for the time