Partition Cases/Joint Property Owner Cases

If you co-own real estate with another party in Tennessee, there may come a time when you have a dispute with them or need to retain counsel to recover money which they owe you. Frequently, a co-owner of real property, sometimes also called a joint tenant or tenant in common, may need to bring a partition action to have the property sold or divided. The Nashville partition lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC handle partition cases in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.

In Tennessee, when someone has a joint tenancy or tenancy in common with others, generally speaking, each joint tenant or tenant in common has an equal, undivided ownership interest in the property, and each has an equal right to possess and to enjoy the property. Each tenant in common or joint tenant, generally, has an equal right to share in the profits of the property, but each must also share in the expenses needed for the maintenance and repair of the property, and for the payment of property taxes.

A general rule of law in Tennessee is that a tenant in common does not have to continue in partnership, so to speak, with other tenants in common. Thus, any person who owns property as a tenant in common may petition a court to partition the real property in which he or she has the ownership interest. Where the court divides the property without ordering it sold, this is referred to as a partition in kind. Generally speaking, if a partition in kind would be unjust to one or more other tenants in common (or joint tenants), a court will order that the property be sold, and that the sale proceeds be divided between or among the cotenants. The Nashville partition lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC provide representation in partition by sale and partition in kind cases for property located anywhere in Tennessee.

As a general proposition, in Tennessee, the law presumes that tenants in common and joint tenants are entitled to divide the sale proceeds equally. There are, however, several circumstances under which the sale proceeds might not be divided equally. They are:

  1. A cotenant that has spent money to improve the property will be entitled to more of the proceeds than the other cotenant or cotenants who have not done so as long as the improvements enhanced the value of the property;
  2. A cotenant that has paid more than other cotenants to satisfy encumbrances on the property such as tax liens or construction liens, will be entitled to more of the proceeds;
  3. A cotenant that has paid more than the other cotenant or other cotenants for expenses for necessary repairs and maintenance is generally entitled to more of the sale proceeds;
  4. A cotenant that has solely possessed the property and derived profits from it is liable to the other cotenant or cotenants for his or her share, or their share, of the profits and may, therefore, receive less from the sale proceeds;
  5. A cotenant that has wrongfully excluded the other cotenant or cotenants from the property must pay the other cotenant or cotenants a pro rata percentage of the fair rental value of the property for the period of exclusion; and
  6. Where cotenants have purchased property together and one cotenant paid more for the purchase price than the other(s), the cotenant who paid more may receive more from the sale proceeds.

Pepper Law, PLC can provide you with an initial consultation at no charge for your partition case in Nashville or any other part of Tennessee.

Recent Partition Cases

Dietzel v. Gary, et. al., Chancery Court for Obion County, Tenn., no. 31248. Represented an heir and joint owner in partition case involving 12 joint owners and commercial/agricultural land worth 1.6 million dollars. Filed partition case and successfully negotiated settlement whereby land was partitioned by sale with joint owners receiving pro rata portion of sales proceeds of 1.6 million dollars. Attorney’s fees incurred by client paid from sales proceeds before distributions to joint owners.

Thomas v. Thomas, Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tenn., no. 15-896-IV. Represented client in partition case filed against client where opposing party sought to deduct substantial amounts from client’s portion of sales proceeds for alleged payments opposing party had made for insurance, taxes, and maintenance. Obtained verdict that no monies were to be deducted from client’s share of proceeds.

Cappiello v. Johnston, et. al., Chancery Court for Anderson County, Tenn., no. 16CH7793. Partition action involving commercial property in Anderson County, Tennessee valued in excess of one million dollars and 9 joint owners. Case pending.

Ren. v. Yin, Chancery Court for Wilson County, Tenn., no. 2015-CV-296. Filed partition action and successfully negotiated settlement for client in case involving residential real estate in Wilson County, Tennessee.

Entesary v. Homayoon, Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tenn., no. 15-1250-II. Filed partition action for client and joint owner of residential real estate in Davidson County, Tennessee worth approximately one million dollars. Case pending.

Kidder v. Wright, Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tenn., 16-351-II. Filed partition action for client and joint owner of residential real estate in Davidson County, Tennessee. Case pending.