Updated on September 27, 2023
In California, especially in Southern California, our Los Angeles partition attorneys litigate a large number of partition actions on behalf of parties seeking to partition real property or defending a party from their cotenant’s efforts to partition real property. One necessary part of nearly all partition actions is an accounting.
An accounting is usually intertwined with a partition action because the respective rights of the parties (financial rights) typically need to be adjusted and settled at (or after) the sale of the property. An accounting involves a determines of both the charges and the credits attributable to each co-owner. Credits typically include things like property taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance expenses, insurance, and improvements that enhance the value of the property.
In general, the rule on credits is that the co-tenant seeking a credit must show that the co-tenant incurred the expense for the common benefit of both property owners. If the crediting co-tenant can show the expense commonly benefitted both property owners, then that co-tenant will typically be entitled to be reimbursed for the amount they spent in excess of the co-owner’s fractional share of the property ownership. For example, if a 50% owner of real property pays 100% of the property taxes for the property, then that co-owner can seek reimbursement of 50% of the property tax payments through the accounting – the 50% the co-owner spent in excess of its 50% interest in the property.
At Schorr Law, our real estate attorneys have a great deal of experience resolving conflicting accounting claims. One pitfall that we see on a frequent basis is where a co-tenant out of possession tries to seek the fair market rental value of the property for an extended period of time from the co-tenant in possession. These types of claims typically only arise in a co-tenancy ouster situation, which raises a host of issues including, but not limited to, the statute of limitations, adverse possession and other bars to the claim. This is an extremely dangerous claim to make which can lead to a disastrous result if the co-tenant pursues this claim through a non-real estate, non-partition attorney. We see it over and over again with opposing counsel.
For help with your partition claim, please contact Schorr Law, APCs Los Angeles Partition Attorneys at (310) 954-1877, or [email protected].
See related: Partitioning Property Without A Referee