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Dimitry Esquire
Dimitry Esquire, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin
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My sister and me, and my first cousin R and first cousin C.

Customer Question

My sister and me, and my first cousin R and first cousin C. all own 30 acres of land in Henry County, Va. It was split up family farm land from two families. We believe this is joint tenancy with my sister and I and R having 70 percent of the interest,
and C having 30 percent. R has told us he has found out that C wants to sell his part of the original tract. This property was surveyed in 2000. It is a plot of land with some trees and open pasture with a very small stream running through it. Over the last
30 to 35 years none of my cousins have been to see the land to our knowledge. It takes a*****to get back to the land and you are out of cell phone range. Part of the farm is leased out but not our part. If C is determined to have this surveyed and
has not called us to let us know his intention, who pays for the survey? Can we be forced to pay for the survey? Can C. make us sell our portion of the land even though we do not want to? Would C. get to choose which part of the land he wants in a sale? We
are concerned that he might want to sell the land to a local hunt club in VA which abuts our land. We go see this land about every two weeks and hate to see it sold.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dimitry Esquire replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
To answer your question, generally a 'survey' is split in proportion to ownership interest between the owners. Since 'C' owns 30%, he would be liable for 30% of the costs and can demand, via the courts, that others pay him their share if he ends up paying for the survey himself. However the other owners can legally claim that as they did not consent, and believe that past surveys are correct, that any survey, assessment, or improvement is paid for in full by the party seeking such services. In other words, he can try to make you pay, but you can challenge and refuse, and essentially force him to take you to court.
Now, as far as selling 'his' share, if this is currently one continuous tract, he would have to go to court and file for a 'partition sale' action, which would request that the courts step in and split the property in portions based on interest. He cannot make you currently sign anything or agree, but he can go to the courts and ask them to step. It would not be up to C to pick the part of land he wants to take, it would be up to the courts, and yes, you can likewise challenge it. So no, without actually going to court, C is stuck with the fees and with the continuous stretch of land.
Dimitry, Esq.

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