Q. My Sister and I have joint ownership of a holiday cottage inherited from our parents 17 years ago. We no longer use the place, and quite honestly I would rather sell the property and cash in my share. My sister isn’t so keen and despite my pleas to put the place up for sale she hasn’t responded to my request. If she doesn’t want to sell is there anything I can do to make her pay me my half the value of the place?
A. You can’t physically make your sister pay you your half of the property, but in this situation you are able to force a sale of the property, which ultimately would mean you would secure your share. The good news is the courts are able to make an order for sale in a situation like this where one owner wants to liquidate their share of the asset and the other doesn’t. If your sister still really wants to keep the property it would be in her best interests to make you an offer to buy you out. This would be the best solution for you both and would mean you would get your hands on the cash more quickly than waiting for a regular sale to go through, which as we all know can sometimes take months. Remember, going to court can be both expensive and time consuming for both parties, it’s certainly not a first resort by any means, especially when family are involved it’s so much better when families are caught up in such disputes to carefully consider all possibilities before taking legal action. However, if your sister is still not open to your proposals, then clearly will have no choice but to go down the route of appointing a Solicitor to set the wheels in motion for a forced sale of the property via the courts. Hopefully with that knowledge, she will see sense and things won’t go that far and you are able to resolve the dispute outside the courtroom.