Joint Owners of Real Property. Can One Co-Owner Force a Sale?

One owner wants to sell, the other owners want to retain ownership.

What do you do when one owner wants to sell, and another wants to keep?

Chapter 46A of the North Carolina General Statutes provides a solution to this problem.  The owner who wants to sell can file a Petition to Partition the real property.  This procedure allows for the Court to either physically divide the property to allow all joint owners to have a part of the real property. However, if physically splitting the property is not fair under the circumstances, the Court can order a public or private sale of the real property, with the proceeds to be divided equitable among all owners after the sale. The Petitioner often chooses which route to take in these scenarios, though after hearing the evidence the Court can decide whether physically division or sale is appropriate and equitable.

In a Petition to Partition, can I be compensated for paying the taxes and mortgage for the past several years?

Owners can make arguments that they are entitled to a higher percentage of the proceeds from any sale if said owner has paid taxes, mortgages or other carrying costs over the years.

Petition to Partition

What is the benefits of a Petition to Partition?

The simple ability to file a Petition to Partition real property can also be used to help an owner wanting to sell negotiate with joint owners who are unwilling to sell. If the joint owners outvote the owner who wishes to sell, the owner wishing to sell can always file a Petition to Partition to force the sale.   Many times, just having the knowledge that this process exists can help joint owners come to a more amicable agreement.

For more information on filing a Petition to Partition real property, contact our office and consult with our experienced attorneys by calling (919) 772-7000 or emailing us at

Helpful Links:

North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 46A – Partition